Friday, November 19, 2010

With or Without A Slogan

I couldn't care less if the Department of Tourism has a new slogan to promote our country. The fact of the matter is that unless we can protect foreign tourists, we'll have a hard time selling the Philippines. Two weeks ago, the Asian Intercity Bowling Championships was held here. Despite the travel advisories that several countries issued, the event was well participated. My team represented one of the three local cities that participated. Several cities from Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Saipan and Guam also sent teams to participate in the annual meet. Unfortunately, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and China did not send their teams due to the travel advisories and the botched hostage rescue.

A very sad incident involving a player (of Australian descent) from Guam happened. While waiting for a taxi cab in front of Robinson's Place in Ermita, two thieves riding in tandem snatched her necklace. The poor girl was dragged for several meters because her necklace di dnot easily break. She sustained bruises on her elbows and knees and he right wrist was sprained. This did not happen in the wee hours of the morning but early evening. She vowed that she will never visit the Philippines again even if her sponsored her travel.

This is not an isolated case. Many tourists are victimized by thieves, prostitutes and even our police. No matter how much we spend on advertising, or how many times we change our "branding", unless we can assure our visitors that they will be protected, the Philippines would be a hard-sell. It's not about the terror threat that we lose tourists to our Asian neighbors but
due to crime. Even our "balikbayans" fall prey to crime. Is this just the government's problem? It concerns us all. How many taxi cabs dupe even the locals? We've lost our sense of hospitality as well. What most people see in tourists is simply the color of money. We no longer see them as guests. It may just be a case of a few rotten eggs, but perception plays a big part in all these. When even local tourists are treated badly, the tourism industry will continue to suffer.

With or without a catchy slogan, we will continue to lag behind our neighbors in terms of tourism. We must go through a re-education of sorts. Tourism should not be limited to the DoT's and travel agencies, it should be a national concern. We, the Filipinos are our tourism's greatest endorsers. It is our good nature that will back our foreign guests.


Anonymous said...

i agree...we, filipinos should feel safe in our country in the first place...then we can be proud to say to other nations as well how safe and secured they would be in the philippines...besides of course promoting the natural beauty of this country, first and foremost we should address our 'safety issues'!

Tongue's Wrath said...

That's a heartbreaker. The lady came despite the warnings and this is what she gets in return. I don't blame her for shunning the country in her future tournaments.

Christmas is coming fast and the Westerners who hate the cold weather will be arriving in numbers, what are the security forces planning to do about street crimes that historically escalate during the season?

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised. Fact is, this kind of behavior is expected.

Magnanakaw ang puno ng gobierno so, it just follows that magnanakaw din ang mamamayan niya.

Naturally, di naman lahat dahil di naman lahat ng politiko e magnanakaw, but yun na ang punto.

Itong bagong admin, by example, mukhang di kaiba sa nakaraan!

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