‘Don’t forget the hashtag’

Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Visayas director Shahlimar Tamano (SunStar file photo)

BOOST Cebu’s presence online by using hashtags in your Facebook and Instagram posts.

This is the appeal of Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano to industry players and local travelers to increase Cebu’s social media presence.

But Tamano said it isn’t only about using the #Cebu in every online post. He encouraged Cebuanos to level up the use of hashtags and “speak the guest’s language.”

By this, he meant translating #Cebu to Korean or Japanese to widen Cebu’s engagement and hit the targeted market.

A hashtag is a label used on words or phrases on social media posts that help categorize specific content on relevant topics.

“The use of a hashtag is important because it’s a marketing tool, and it opens up opportunities to strike a conversation with potential visitors to the country or Cebu,” said Tamano.

He added that it is important to also include hashtags commonly used by Koreans and Japanese in their own language on social media posts so Cebu gains more traction in these markets.

Koreans, Chinese and Japanese are the top Asian tourist source markets of Cebu.

There are about 4.3 million posts that use the #Cebu on Instagram. Besides using #Cebu, Korean tourists use their own characters in their Instagram post hashtags, which now has one million posts.

The Japanese, on the other hand, use their own hashtag that means Cebu Island, which now has 476,000 Instagram posts, and another hashtag that means Cebu, which now has 229,000 posts.

“The number of posts means that within their own circle, they are in a way promoting or talking about Cebu. Just imagine the immense opportunities there are if we join this circle. Cebu as a destination will be promoted and Cebu’s products like furniture or fashion accessories will be showcased or exposed,” said Tamano.

Because of technology, travelers these days turn to social media to make travel decisions. Some turn to social media posts to know more about the people, tours and sightseeing, food, weather and culture of a destination.

“Social media really has changed the way we travel. That’s why the Filipinos’ natural hobby to take photos could go a long way if these are posted online with the right hashtags,” said Tamano.

He said he plans to discuss this initiative to tourism stakeholders to entice local and foreign tourists to maximize the benefits of using hashtags so the industry could get the right information it needs.

“Our product will be our message,” he added.

Central Visayas hit the eight million mark in tourist arrivals in 2018. The number of the region’s foreign visitors rose by 25 percent compared to the previous year while domestic arrivals grew 9.7 percent.


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