Philippines: More fun?
According to last year’s nation brand value report from Brand Finance, the nation brand of the Philippines is on the rise. The report named the Asian-Pacific country among the top 10 fastest growing nation brands in 2014, along with contenders such as Sri Lanka and Colombia.
The Philippines has long been associated with images of an island paradise full of hospitable and welcoming people. This has been a great boon for tourism, but is the Philippines now looking to become known for more than just tourism?
It would seem not. In fact, it could be doing quite the opposite. Three years ago, the country’s president, Benigno S. Aquino III, announced an ambitious plan to boost the tourism industry.
The plan revolved around a marketing campaign, headed by the slogan, ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines.’ This went viral on social media when it was released, and attracted international acclaim. Hard numbers evidenced the campaign’s success, showing that tourism to the Philippines had increased from 3.5m in 2010, to 4.8m in 2014, according to numbers from the Department of Tourism. The 2014 figure is a record high, but the Philippines still lags behind regional competitors Malaysia and Thailand.
Critics point out that insufficient infrastructure in the Philippines is a major negative factor for tourists, especially the heavy traffic in the capital Manila. Expensive airfares, congested airports and various travel bans also discourage potential tourists from visiting, according to a 2015 article on CNN.
It’s usually advisable for nation brands to play to their true strengths and not try to be all things to all people. In this sense, the Philippines seem to be on the right track, by focusing on the main asset: tourism. But for the country to go a step further and really have chance to shine in the region, there remain problems still to be fixed.