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MANILA — Following complaints from almost all sectors, Malacañang hinted that the Aquino Administration would be adopting an entirely new concept for the slogan of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in order to attract more tourists and investors.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified that this is a government that takes into consideration the public pulse, because it scrapped altogether the proposed “Pilipinas kay Ganda” slogan of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.

“The DOT had said that we will consider the opinion of the public. So we are going to have new concepts and we will go through the same process once again,” Valte told government-run radio station dzRB.

Valte said it is possible that the old “Wow Philippines” logo may still be adopted, especially since Lim was instructed by President Benigno Aquino III to provide another blueprint.

She said the President still has trust and confidence in Lim, who himself was open to new ideas, saying the proposed slogan was announced only for purposes of trying to assess how the public would react to it, and would want all stakeholders to be part of the dialogue.

“The proposed branding was opened to the public. There has been a reaction. We’ve seen over the past few days that a lot of people really commented about the proposed brand,” Valte said.

Over the weekend, the President scrapped the DOT slogan.

He arrived at the decision after meeting with various stakeholders and Lim.

“The stakeholders appear unsatisfied. Perhaps it’s automatic that it no longer needs fine-tuning, but a replacement that will be more appropriate,” he told reporters in Malacañang after receiving world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

 

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Mr. Aquino acknowledged that “Wow Philippines” appears more acceptable to most Filipinos.

“Wow Philippines” was the country’s tourism battle cry during the previous administration. It was the brainchild of former Sen. and Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon.

The President said he had also asked Lim to submit a blueprint for developing the country’s tourism industry.

“I want to review all the details,” Mr. Aquino said.

“There are concepts that should have been tested out better.

There should have been focus group discussions. There should have been more market research that was mislaid during the launch,” he said.

“I understand now that what they were doing was to talk to the stakeholders to get their reaction on something that will seek to differentiate us from all our competitors,” he said.

“And then...there appeared to have been changes and those invited also did not understand what should be done that night.

There were a lot of errors but it’s not too late. It’s not too late to rectify it,” he added.

Tourism industry leaders, legislators, as well as the general public have bitterly criticized the Pilipinas kay Ganda slogan, calling it bland and saying that the fact that it is in the national language, not English, made it incomprehensible to foreigners.

Critics also said the logo that accompanies it looked strangely similar to the travel logo for Poland.

The slogan’s scrapping was the latest in a series of setbacks suffered by the DOT.

Last Tuesday, it had to take down its latest online tourism campaign after the website was panned and critics warned that unwary surfers looking for the site at beautifulpilipinas.com could easily end up in a porn website instead.

The Philippines has been struggling to shake off its image as an unsafe destination after a botched police rescue of foreign tourists seized by a dismissed policeman last August left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

Lim has said he was confident the Tourism Department would attain its full-year target of 3.3 million arrivals, from just over three million in 2009.