Sustainability Turns at the Heart of Philippines Tourism Campaign

Philippines, gastronomy, sustainability, Boracay,

Philippines Department of Tourism campaign ‘It is More Fun in the Philippines’ has been confirmed by State Secretary of Tourism Bernadette Romulo Puyat. But she added a new social and sustainable dimension to the famed slogan as highlighted during ITB Berlin.

“It is more fun in the Philippines”. The slogan and the catchy campaign had been lunched by Philippines previous administration of Benigno Aquino with an advertising man, Ramon Jimenez Jr., appointed as State Secretary for Tourism at that time. A change in administration and the new State Secretary Wanda Teo Corazon showed immediately her marked hostility to the catching slogan -just for the sake of demolishing ideas from the former government.

Corazon last less than two years due to corruption and has since been replaced by a new Secretary coming from the Department of Agriculture. The young Bernadette Romulo Puyat is looking at bridging the gap between tourism, environment and agriculture. And she decided a month ago to confirm the campaign ‘It is More Fun in the Philippines’, thinking that the brand had already been well established. However she added a new dimension to it.

Three months have been necessary to refresh the brand with a new logo which actually is more related to Filipinos traditions such as weaving. The DOT with creative agency even brought a new font which is reflecting more Philippines essence. The ‘Barabara’ font is inspired from writing around the country and is available free to download by any one wishing to use it.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat used the ITB Berlin event to launch officially the refreshed campaign overseas, insisting particularly on the new sustainable and responsible character of the message.

The DOT will be aggressive in promoting the best of the Philippines to our international source markets. But we do not want that people just come for the sake of having fun. Having fun is also to protect, respect our natural resources and care about the community. This is why it will still be more fun in the Philippines,” Romulo-Puyat highlighted in Berlin.

The DOT will market the Philippines as one of the pioneering countries for sustainable tourism. This direction puts a focus on carrying capacity, biodiversity preservation and sustainability in the tourism industry.

It is not an easy task but Boracay closure has been a wake-up call for all of us as well as our tourists. Of course, closing the island for six months was hard, very hard for local people. But the damage inflected by tourism was intense and we had to take radical actions to give back to Boracay its pristine aspect. And now locals and tourists are so happy over the outcome. They even explain to see again birds or turtles who had totally vanished for many years on the island. We might have lost some tourists during the closure but this was worth the sacrifice,” said Mrs. Romulo-Puyat.

The State Secretary then indicated that more destinations in the country will now follow Boracay example. Manila Bay is the first one but will be followed by Panglao in Bohol, El Nido in Palawan and then Siargao, Coron and Baguio City.  ” We will implement the same drastic cleaning measures at those tourism spots,” she indicated.

While the DOT worked hard to achieve its target, it still has fallen short of its 7.4 million tourist arrivals target for 2018 after it recorded only 7.1 million arrivals. ” We will definitely pass the eight million mark in 2019,” added Romulo-Puyat.

Another theme is also added to Philippines traditional images of sea and sun paradise, of nature and festivals: culinary which so far was lacking image internationally.

“Gastronomy will now be a very strong part of our promotion as it not only highlight our culinary traditions but also help strengthening the agricultural sector- particularly small producers,” told Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the presentation.

Local chefs and Jollibee brand, a local fast-food chain, are now joining hands with tourism authorities to promote gastronomy worldwide. While secondary destinations will get the support of Philippines largest low cost carrier Cebu Pacific.