The Department of Tourism has unveiled its first promotional video since it announced a plan to splurge a king’s ransom on a new slogan.
Critics have been quick to mock the new campaign, pointing to the recent revelations about corrupt police targeting foreign visitors.
Last year tourism chiefs said they were looking to spend 650 million pesos on rebranding the country’s official campaign. However, the new video released this week has in fact retained the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” tag line.
The minute-long clip was shot by the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao, and is called Anak.
It features a blond-haired chap called Jack Ellis being offered food by a Filipina lady who calls him “Anak (my child).” He then asks his guide what the word means and when given the answer, gets a glimpse of Filipino hospitality and warmth.
The video signs off with the catchline: “When you’re with Filipinos, you’re with family.”
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said they had considered changing the motto, first launched in 2012, but decided to retain it on the advice of UN tourism bigwig Taleb Rifai. “He said, ‘You just level it up but retain the It’s More Fun in the Philippines, but it should answer the question Why is it more fun in the Philippines?… Focus on the traits of the Filipino’.”
She added that the budget of 650 million pesos would cover the production of more TV and print advertisements to be released over the coming year.
However, online commentators have questioned whether the slogan is still appropriate in the light of foreign visitors being ransomed and killed by police.
Writing on Twitter, user “llovekpy” said: “Who would want to be with Filipinos who would likely murder you for your money? Tokhang here. Ransom there.”
“Emfern” agreed, Tweeting: “What a family! The Korean businessman was murdered by family then?”
“Betseykilayko” said: “How can you sell a tourism slogan like that when the Philippines is synonymous to extrajudicial killings, state-sponsored murders?”
“When you’re with Filipinos, you might become a collateral damage,” “NotoEJK” added.