‘More fun’ fails to impress Gordon-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Sunday, July 22, 2012
THE “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign of the Department of Tourism may have attracted high participation from many Filipinos online, but it failed to impress former tourism secretary and former senator Richard Gordon.
Gordon, who spoke during the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists Forum Saturday, said the country will not gain any more tourists with a campaign slogan alone.
“It’s not the slogan. It’s the country itself,” Gordon told reporters. He explained that instead of setting a 10-million goal, what the country needs to do is work to improve its facilities.
“When you go to Manila, can you land or take off right away?” he pointed out.
Gordon admitted the slogan is something he will not use, saying it was merely a copy of a slogan from Switzerland. It was Gordon who launched the “Wow Philippines” campaign, which many industry stakeholders still consider as one of the best slogans.
He said the department needs a comprehensive marketing campaign to draw in more tourists.
Gordon urged the Filipinos to be creative, saying creativity is a treasure that people are not using to the full extent.
He also lamented the lack of continuity of government policies, saying the only consistent government policy is the efforts to replace incumbent officials. “Paalisin policy,” he said.
Because of the lack of continuity, Gordon said the Philippines gets left behind because it has to start over while the rest of its Asian neighbors moved forward.
He also lamented on the voters’ choices of leaders that are based on popularity and money. “The lack of wisdom is appalling.”
Gordon also cited the need for the country to have a more varied source of growth, saying he worries at the lack of manufacturing facilities here.
Unlike neighboring countries, the Philippines is more of a consumption economy. He warned that it could become the next United States, citing similarities in real estate and mall developments before the crisis began.
He added that if the country does not act soon, it will face even stiffer competition from Vietnam. Other Southeast Asian countries Myanmar and Cambodia are also beginning to catch up.
Businessman Norberto Quisumbing Jr. of the Norkis Group of Companies asked Gordon if he did not feel that the proliferation of malls and high-rise buildings could actually be detrimental to the economy. Quisumbing said the proliferation of malls has led small shops to close. He also pointed out the loss of manufacturing bases because of the ease with which it is to import goods.
Gordon believes that the benefits brought about by malls and a real estate boom are good for the short-term.
However, he believes there is a danger in it because people stop producing goods and malls sell products that are mostly imported.
Gordon said the Philippines needs to have varied products to build its economy and not just rely on the success of some sectors such as business process outsourcing.
“If we remain stagnant, these (BPO) companies can shift to another country. And then what? People will not be able to pay for their condos,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2012.