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Amid mixed reactions to the country's newest tourism slogan "It's more fun in the Philippines," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez on Friday said it is up to Filipinos themselves to defend and make the campaign true.
"It's not my campaign, it's not my slogan, it's ours. [It's] really up to the Filipinos who like the slogan to defend it," Jimenez told GMA News in an interview.
Earlier in the day, the Department of Tourism (DOT) unveiled the new campaign, saying it will answer the question “Why should I go to the Philippines?”
Just hours after its release, a Swiss ad saying "It's more fun in Switzerland" began circulating on the Internet.
But Jimenez said BBDO, the advertising giant hired to come up with the campaign, would never resort to copying another country's campaign.
"They're not like that, hindi po sila ganun. You have to meet [BBDO chairman] David Guerrero to realize that [the] guy would [rather] slit his throat than copy something, you obviously dont know him," he said.
He likewise said the campaign "has been tested obviously" even in the foreign market.
"I wouldn't be sitting here in front of you if the respondents did not say 'we liked it.' The line has been translated already. We have checked it out and yes it is very positive even to foreign nationalities," he said.
Jimenez admitted he was a "a little sad" that there are people trying to ruin the new campaign but he quickly noted that he was not really surprised about it.
"There will always be twisted minds who will try to ruin it but that's not the point. This country has got to get going. If what we're going to do is spend enough time listening to people who have nothing better to do than to mess things up for us, we will never have new things to talk about. Ang importante may suporta ka ng taumbayan," he said.
'We are the product'
Jimenez explained the slogan was meant to reflect a characteristic that is unique to Filipinos: the ability to make things fun and memorable for their guests or visitors.
"It wasn't meant to be a unique, magical, original line. It was meant to be a simple truth about ourselves. If it's true about the Philippines, that's what we should use. Hindi tayo dapat gumagamit ng slogan na hindi natin keri," he said.
The DOT chief even said that we have one of the higest rates of repeat visits from foreign guests.
"Sixty-five percent of those who visit the Philippines come back. They fall in love with it. They've been to better places [but] why do they come back? [They say] it's more fun in your country than you people realize," he said.
"Yan ang pinakatotoo sa ating bayan. Yan ang ating advantage sa ating mga kakumpitensya. Gustuhin man nila hindi nila kayang habulin ang Pilipino sa lugar na yan dahil walang tatalo sa atin pagdating sa saya. Marunong talaga tayong mag-alaga ng bisita. We are the product," he added.
Jimenez likewise said that Filipinos can make up for the country's lack in facilities and infrastructure.
"The word infrastructure is just another term for comfort, security etc. Therefore, the people have to make up for the lack of infrastructure until such time that we catch up with them. Are we at a disadvantage? No, because we have the superior instinct for taking care of visitors," he said.
But the DOT chief noted that they are already in the process of fixing the airports and other infrastructure needed to boost tourism in the country.
"It will take a couple of years at the most to fix the airport. Maybe the proper question is what do we do in the meantime? What we do is make sure that our guests are okay," he said. — RSJ, GMA News