The Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) wants to have more than 3.3 million tourists come to the Philippines by the end of 2010. While some have said that this goal will be difficult to achieve, the Department of Tourism is tapping into a variety of innovative methods to lure visitors to the gorgeous islands of the Philippines.
Bloggers Meet and Greet with DOT Secretary Alberto Lim
One such technique is the allocation of more than 100 million pesos to the promotion of the Southeast Asian tourist destination through non-traditional media such as blogs and internet campaigns. These new media promotions are expected to draw visitors who might otherwise miss advertising through traditional media such as radio, television, and print advertising.
Hundred Islands in Alaminos Pangasinan
Selected Travel and Lifestyle Bloggers including myself were lucky to have interviewed our new Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim couple of months back and according to him, the Philippines is expecting to increase tourist numbers by ten percent or more this year alone. A rise of this size means that there will be significant capital investment in tourist businesses, tourist infrastructure, and in developing new destinations for tourists and travelers.
Secretary Alberto Lim
“We’re actually coming out already with a new tourism branding and we will invite you again on its launch” Secretary Alberto Lim said to local bloggers who attended in the closed door but informal gathering organized by Digital Media Expert KanKan Ramos. Further questions from fellow bloggers were met with little information but the teasing smile of Mr. Lim left no doubt that the rebranding would be something to say Wow! about.
Beach in La Union
This re-branding of the Philippines is a key strategy in making the islands a top destination worldwide. One visible sign of this is the recent WOW! Philippines campaign popularized by Senator Dick Gordon which has been incredibly successful but is set to end at the beginning of 2011. No word on what the next slogan will be, though undersecretary of tourism Vicente Romano has hinted that it will have something to do with the natural beauty for which the Philippines is famed.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Vicente Romano – commonly known as “Enteng” is a noted expert on all things new media and has already made inroads into the field by introducing both Twitter and Facebook marketing to the DOT. His previous work as the head of the New Media Bureau for President Benigno Aquino is said by some to be part of the president’s key to success.
Patapat Viaduct in Ilocos
Mr. Romano teased reporters with the following “I’ve got a social media game planned.” No doubt it’s a high stakes game because the tourism market in the Philippines is a big money business. Some sources have questioned whether the now famous “Dancing flight attendant” videos from Cebu Pacific were a part of Mr. Romano’s game plan but according to my sources – its mainly conceptualized by Cebu Pacific’s think tanks. One thing is for certain, the YouTube video went viral and suggested the Philippines to millions of people who may have never considered it as a vacation destination before.
At the moment, the Philippine Department of Tourism reports that visitors to the Philippines come mostly from Korea, the USA, and Japan. All of these countries have highly developed social media and networks, so it seems as if this gamble might pay off big.