PH Paints The World 'Fun'

MANILA, Philippines - After the hugely successful rollout of the first official TV ad of the Department of Tourism's (DoT) 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' campaign on the Cable News Network (CNN), airing to more than 280 million households around the world, the Philippines is, quite literally, everywhere these days.

The ad is currently airing on CNN, which is very timely as CNN also features the country through a special segment called ''Eye on the Philippines.'' The roll-out also coincides with the Philippine hosting of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank Board of Governors from May 2 to 5 in Manila. Both the TVC and ''Eye on the Philippines'' are being aired worldwide.

''Someone remarked that this country's tourism challenges cannot be solved by just a slogan,'' Jimenez said during the Forum on Harnessing the Growth Potentials of Tourism at the 45th Annual Meeting of Board Governors of the Asian Development Bank. ''It reveals that they have limited understanding of the role of persuasive communications in business and in governance.''

According to Jimenez, 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' is not just a bunch of words on a streamer, it is a competitive argument for choosing the Philippines as one of the world's top tourist destinations.

''It is rooted in the competitive advantage. It's deliverable because there is genuine value in being able to participate. The slogan as everyone now knows has energized the system because it contains the one thing that works so well in open competition, it is the truth,'' he said.

Inspired by the number of memes generated online, the DoT decided to make a TVC material out of them. At present, there are already 12,000 versions of the campaign. When the campaign was launched, there were only three.

''This is an astounding response from the public, and we wanted to showcase some of the best memes in our TVC which we felt represented both the beauty and fun in our country and people,'' he remarked. ''This material is based on genuine photos of real fun experiences in the Philippines.''

The material's fun factor is aided by the soundtrack, which takes off from Boney M's ''Gotta Go Home,'' after the DoT secured the clearance to use the same. Contrary to earlier reports, the TVC soundtrack is not based on the popular dance hit ''Barbra Streisand'' of Duck Sauce and also does not involve of the Black Eyed Peas.

According to Jimenez the new TV ad is just but one of the initiatives that the DoT is planning to roll out within the year as it targets 10 million tourist arrivals in 2016.

During the forum, Jimenez shared good news that for the first quarter of 2012, inbound visitors to the Philippines grew by 16 percent, and hit 1.15 million tourists in the first three months alone. ''From this record we have now achieved 25 percent of our target international visitors of 4.6 million for this year,'' Jimenez said.

The DoT also presented the new National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) that, according to Jimenez, is a product of the most thorough inventory of tourist attractions in the history of the Philippines. ''It divides the county into 20 strategic thematic tourism destination clusters covering 78 Tourism Development Areas that will be the focus for massive development in the four years,'' Jimenez said.

In the presentation presented by DoT Undersecretary Daniel G. Corpuz, the NTDP covers: seven strategic clusters in Northern Philippines (North Luzon, CAR, CALABARZON, NCR ) covering 27 tourism development areas; six strategic clusters in Central Philippines (MIMAROPA, Bicol, Visayas) covering 25 tourism development areas; and seven strategic clusters in the Southern Philippines (Mindanao) covering 26 tourism development areas.

''Accordingly, this will help ensure that the estimated government outlay of 74 billion pesos for infrastructure support, capacity building, promotion planning, natural and cultural preservation and product development will be funded and implemented on time,'' Jimenez said.

Jimenez likewise added that this forum is just the beginning of road shows which the DoT will embark on to inform its partners, as well as encourage investors and funding institutions, to support the implementation of the NTDP.