“It is More Fun in the Philippines” Without the Fun…

After months of polemics between the travel trade and the new Chief of Philippines Department of Tourism, State Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo over the decision of keeping or not the successful slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” launched by her predecessor Ramon Jimenez. At start, the newly appointed State Secretary wanted to introduce a new slogan, by acknoledging that it the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” was catchy, it did not generate more tourist arrivals according to surveys. Many of the Philippines travel industry saw the move as just a political ringging rather than a true justification for a change. After all, a new president in the Philippines should also mean a new tourism slogan, what ever the success of the previous slogan.

At the end, after many international observers -including some at the UNWTO- the United Nations World Tourism Organisation- advices Mrs. Tulfo-Teo not to change a rather popular slogan, the DOT announced to finally only overhaul the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign. Difficult to claim that the slogan is not effective when looking at tourism figures over the last five years. Total arrivals grew by almost 40% jumping from 4.3 million to almost six million international arrivals last year. Between 2015 and 2016, growth even accelerated with a jump of 11.3% in total international arrivals which let the country missing by a few 100,000 the much anticipated six-million arrivals mark…

“We expect further growth of tourist arrivals this year especially as our State Secretary inked recently an memorandum of understanding with China to increase cooperation between both countries. We also signed another agreement to boost tourism relations with Cambodia”, said undersecretary of State Rolando Canizal during the recent ATF in Singapore.

The recent hosting of Miss Universe Final Pageant in Manila, the nomination of Boracay Island and Palawan as the Top Best Islands in the world by Conde Nast Traveler (USA) are likely to boost the fame of the destination.

While the government will promote 20 cluster as top destinations in a bid to increase the quality of tourism, as underlined by Mr. Canizal in Singapore.

Then, the worldwide exposure of the Philippines in international social and traditional media would then balance for the new “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign. According to the State Secretary, some PHP 650 million (US$3.25 million) will be used for the overhaul campaign. As emphasized by the State Secretary Tulfo-Teo, “It is More Fun in the Philippines” will now more look at WHY it makes it more fun. “This is for example because of people”. The first clip shows a Westerner being pampered by a local lady calling him “Anak” (“my child”). It is certainly sentimental, definitely sweet but not fun, missing the main idea of the tagline. Let’s see if next video clips of the 2017 campaign will go back to the ‘fun side’ of the slogan.

Meanwhile, does it really matter now? The “More Fun in the Philippines” effect is likely to vanish if not used as it means. And the popularity of the Philippines as a holiday destination however is due to continue.