More ads, better infra needed to boost PH tourism—Legarda
The Department of Tourism (DOT) should further boost its international marketing strategy by placing more tourism advertisements in international channels to attract more foreign visitors in the country, Senator Loren Legarda has said.
“We should be more aggressive in our marketing strategies, especially by placing more Philippine tourism advertisements in international channels. We need to be top of mind among tourists,” Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, said during the hearing for the proposed 2017 budget of the DOT on Tuesday.
“I regularly see in top foreign news channels those tourism ads from our neighbors in Asia like ‘Malaysia Truly Asia,’ ‘Incredible India,’ and ‘Wonderful Indonesia’. The images are so riveting. I also want to see my country’s ad as often as the others,” she said.
The DOT, she said, should also focus on the messaging “because while we have a lot of beautiful tourist spots in the country, we must choose only one message that will reverberate in people’s minds.”
The senator assured that the committee will support amendments to augment the DOT’s budget for international marketing.
Aside from tourism ads, Legarda underscored the need for additional tourism infrastructure, such as airports, seaports, roads and bridges, which she said are also crucial in attracting more tourists.
She noted the DOT’s statement that while the Philippines has the “competitive advantage” over other countries in Asia as it was able to position itself as a “multiple-gateway destination,” the problems on airport infrastructure and traffic remain.
To address these problems, Legarda said, tourism infrastructure must be improved and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) must be decongested.
“We should promote other international airports in the country such as the Clark International Airport, which will be the gateway not only to Central Luzon but also to the Cordillera Region,” she said.
Other vital airports in the country, like the General Santos Airport, which she said is the gateway to Region 12 and even the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, must also be upgraded.
“We really have to improve our airports and seaports because these are the areas where we first welcome tourists. They have a huge impact on the overall experience of visiting our country. The moment they step in, they should already feel welcome, happy and safe and they should leave our country feeling the same,” Legarda added. IDL
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