Philippine Government Tourism Promotion

Just after the New Year, I had a need for some tourist information. Somebody had written to me with a question about travel in the Philippines, and on this question, I didn’t know the answer. So I decided to do a little searching on the web to see what I could find. In the past, when I have done searching through Philippine Government websites aimed at tourists, I have been disappointed, so I was hoping that the state of the Philippine Tourism web had improved. Unfortunately, I was again disappointed.

Remember, this was just after the change of years, 2007 was out and 2008 was fresh. This is a complicated time for websites, because you have to make sure that your content indicated which year you are talking about when it comes to a schedule of events and such. Unfortunately, I found that all of the tourist events (festivals and such) were listed with the month and the day only, but no year. Because of this, I was very unsure whether the dates listed were for 2007 or 2008. Another thing that caught my eye on the Department of Tourism website was that they had a big banner, which looked very nice, but it said “Visit Philippines 2003.” Oh my. Talk about the site being stale! How unfortunate.

Well, as I continued to search different sites, I did find that some of the Government sites were much better than others. This points to another unfortunate problem, the Philippine Government, unfortunately, has way too many websites for people who might want to visit the Philippines. They really need to consolidate everything into one site, and keep that up to date. With so many different sites (and even different domains that are all Government sponsored), they forget to update some of the sites, and it leads to confusion for potential visitors. I would recommend that all of the Government sites for tourism be consolidated on their main tourist site, and that they have a staff dedicated to keeping this site as fresh as possible.

The Philippines truly has a lot of World-Class cultural events, festivals and such, and I believe that these events could really attract a good number of tourists to the country every year. At this time, though, the Philippines has a very low number of tourists compared to other countries in the region, particularly Thailand. I know that the Philippines can gain market share in the tourism market, and I would be willing to do anything I can to help it happen. I feel that through my many websites, I do assist in attracting a few tourists here, or at least I help make the trips of tourists coming here more successful. I know that I answer many questions sent to me by people who read my sites, and are planning a trip.

Later this week, I want to highlight the effort of Davao City to attract tourists. I did a little research into the efforts that Davao is making, and I will just say that I was surprised at what I found. Tune in later this week to see what I learned!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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  1. says

    Hi Bob, unfortunately it's not only the internet. If you ask the DOT for brochures or maps or whatever, they don't have or the remaining stuff is indeed moth old also.

  2. says

    Hi Bruce – I have a column coming up later this week about Davao City tourism websites, so I'll share more then. Regarding Davao movie listings, I didn't even know there was a website for that! Ha ha… you found a new one!

    Hi Klaus – Yes, this is also true, and very unfortunate. :sad:

  3. John in Austria says

    Hi Bob,

    I've passed this blog along to the Ministry of Tourism – I know a lady that works in planning in the office in Manila. You had a comment from one of your readers last year about lack of information available.

    When I questioned her about this she said" Well, I guess that man diid not realize the existence of our office because if he was able to drop by our office especially at the Tourism Information Counter they could have given him a bunch of brochures aside from the answers he would get from any question he asks about the place he wanted to go or visit. There are 13 regions here in the Philippines and in every region we have our local Department of Tourism offices which anyone can visit for any information…

    Maybe the 13 offices accounts for the confusing websites.

  4. says

    Hi John in Austria – The slew of websites are all run by the national Government. They keep buying new domain names and staring new sites on these domains, then they basically abandon the sites. It is unfortunate. I must say also that the Tourism offices that were mentioned to you are usually quite uninformed. If you ask them the dates of festivals in the area, they usually don't know. As Klaus also said, the brochures that they have are often years old, and out of date. I have no doubt that the DoT people have good intentions, unfortunately they usually don't have the proper information to be helpful.

  5. zois says

    Hi Bob it's truth you speak philippines no have information
    for tourism. Also hear in Greece greece newspaper write
    go holidays in Thailand many greek people every year go
    for tourism. And I am thinking why philippines no make
    one program tourism.

  6. says

    Hi Zois – It is really true. The Philippines can really attract so many more tourists if they just concentrate on promoting tourism at grassroots level. Put together packages and promote them through travel agents. It is obvious that Thailand is doing this, and very successfully. There is no reason why the Philippines can't capitalize on this too.

  7. says

    Whenever I asked my Aussie friends if they know something about the Philippines, all they can think of is Imelda Marcos and her shoes. An acquiantance of mine who travel extensively commented that she will not travel to the Philippines because it was not promoted. She thinks it is dangerous to go there which is actually not at all true.

    The Department of Tourism should evaluate their promotional strategies. At the moment here in Australia Vietnam, Thailand and Bali are heavily promoted.

  8. says

    Hi Ringgay – Exactly. One of the big problems that affects tourism here is that people have a bad image of the Philippines in their minds. They think that they will be kidnapped if they come here. Honestly, these other countries that are more widely traveled probably have crime rates just as high as the Philippines, but they are promoted more effectively. The Philippines needs badly to get together a campaign to change the image in people's minds!

  9. tommy says

    Hi Bob thats true i see on tv here all the time about Jamaica go to Jamaica visit Jamaica, i've been to Jamaica no offence to Jamaicans however it has not a thing on the Philippines self promotion goes a long way to attract business and commerce and maybe put a much needed new face on often preconcieved and misconstrued place that the masses are missing out on or wait is it better for me this way ? hmmm 😉

  10. Graham says

    Bob said…..

    At this time, though, the Philippines has a very low number of tourists compared to other countries in the region, particularly Thailand

    I have friends who were going to go to the Philippines but have now decided to go to Thailand. Main reason is the peso, its a consideration why tourists are at a low level, the strong peso must be having a big effect on where tourists are choosing to go in SE Asia in my opinion.

  11. says

    Hi Tommy – Yes, so many countries have advertising on TV. The Philippines used to, about 5 years ago and more, when Richard Gordon was the Sec. of DoT, but those days seem to be gone. For the most part, such promotion of tourism seems to have gone by the wayside these days.

    Hi Graham – The value of the Peso surely has an impact. However, even when the Peso was at it's weakest, tourism numbers were no more than they are now!

  12. Ted says

    Hi Bob: you make valid points. There are at least 130,000 Filipinos in Australia now, and more than 700,000 in the US. Philippine Airlines has just increased its flights between Manila and the Sydney/ Melbourne 'triangle' (in one way, out the other) from three to five a week, but they are largely for Filipino migrants returning to Phils on Holiday, not caucasian Australians going on a beach holiday. The Philippine Government should launch a brief TV advertising campaign in Melbourne and Sydney, but to be successful as others point out, it needs to ensure that big travel agents like Flight Centre and Harvey World Travel have packages available to places like Boracay, Cebu and so on. How many Australians are aware for instance that Cebu Pacific (airline) passenger numbers rose by almost 60 per cent in 2007 compared with 2006? And of the huge numbers of apartments going up in Manila, and the relatively cheap prices on offer in most hotels, combined with the friendly Filipino people and the improvement in the standard of taxis, where I never now get ripped off and many meters are turned on automatically – a change from a decade ago. The number of Australian visitors to Bali is massive, but Boracay is arguably more beautiful! And what about Puerto Galera, Palawan, Mactan Island…the list goes on. If we can encourage more tourists, ordinary Filipinos will gradually share in the increased expenditure – even if the lion's share goes to airlines and hoteliers. Please pass on my suggestions to the Dept of Tourism!

  13. says

    Hi frey – Unfortunately, I do not know such a person. I wish I did, because I enjoy deep sea fishing myself.

    Hi Ted – It's funny how the whole safety concern issue works… look at Bali. In the last 5 or 6 years there have been two major bombing incidents in Bali. More Australians were killed in one such incident than all the people killed in bombings in the Philippines in the last 10 years. However, Australians still go to Bali, yet they are worried about coming to the Philippines. It shows how deep the reputation of the Philippines has sunk over the years. Waht a shame!

  14. Bobby says

    Davao Gulf is a perfect place for deeo sea fishing. Two years ago someone openned a fishing shop in Davao. Unfortunately, the demand wasn't that good and I'm not sure if he is still open. Another option is if you have your own gear is to hire your own boat (Banca). The boat captains are usually former fishermen and can show you where all the good fishing grounds are.
    Another option is try Scuba Diving. Davao is the cheapest place in the world to learn how to dive. Take a lot of underwater pictures.

  15. says

    Hi Bobby – That fishing shop was opened about 5 or 6 years ago, if we are thinking of the same one. It was called "Gone Fishing" and located in Marfori Heights, just a block or two from my house. They then moved to SM City, and I believe they have now gone out of business, unfortunately. I do recommend that if anybody wants to fish here, bring your own gear, as you probably don't want to use hand lines or nets like they use here.

  16. says

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