MANILA–Philippine tourism received a series of positive publicity from the foreign media, following TIME’s travel piece on Manila and CNN’s features on Boracay windsurfing and the Filipino long Christmas celebration.
“The wave of publicity certainly helps usher in a good year for tourism. More importantly, the optimism of the foreign media reinforces our image as a desirable destination,” said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.
In the January 25th issue of TIME Asia, the city of Manila was portrayed as “beguiling and reinvigorating for even the most world-weary” by correspondent Lara Day. The Hong Kong-based writer, photographer and editor for TIME and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia however lamented that the country is less-frequented by travelers mainly because of a “flawed image problem.”
A recent feature in the National Geographic pointed out to the similar PR issue affecting the country, while the magazine listed the Cordillera mountains as one of the 25 best destinations for 2010.
“To sustain the efforts of the foreign press, we urge all Filipinos, not just the media, to commit themselves to uplifting the country’s identity to the international community,” continued Durano.
Tourism Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr., likewise emphasized the value of self-promotion to address remarks of outsiders that the country is highly underrated, “We have everything to gain if only we choose to highlight the beauty of our islands, even by way of personal blogs and social networking accounts.”
TIME Asia featured 10 attractions of Manila which varied from the Intramuros tour, museum explorations, halo-halo, music venues, to unusual shirt souvenirs. A side trip of El Nido was included in the three-page article.
Meanwhile, CNNgo.com included the country twice in its 52 best weekends of 2010 segment, which offers readers must-experience activities, destinations and festivals for all weekends of the year. A subsidiary of CNN, CNNgo.com is an insider’s online guide for travel and entertainment in Asia and the world.
The 52 Best Weekends of 2010 listed popular events such as the Australian Open in Melbourne, the Olympic Winter Games in Canada, the Dragon Boat Festival in HongKong and other avant-garde attractions as the Fuji Rock Music Festival in Japan, Trekking in Nepal and the Colombo World Spice Festival.
Claiming the year’s bookends, the Philippines captured the weekends of January 22-24 and December 24-26 for the Boracay International Funboard Cup and the world’s longest Christmas celebration, respectively.
CNNgo.com contributor Estan Cabigas of the travel blog langyaw.com featured the two attractions.
One of Asia’s biggest water sports events, Boracay’s windsurfing competition is where top slalom racers battle it out for global prestige. Avid water sports enthusiasts flock to this yearly contest.
Cabigas’ entry also gave detailed information on Boracay’s accommodations – from the pricey resorts to the modest inns – plus other adventure packages such as diving, island-hopping, kite-boarding, trekking via bicycles or ATVs (All Terrain Vehicle) and horse-back riding.
Last on the online guide’s list is Manila’s Christmas celebration which was touted as the world’s longest and most festive. Cabigas referred to the Filipino Yuletide spirit – signified by house-hopping jolly carollers, heavily decked out malls, and a generally more warm and friendly atmosphere – that permeates the whole country as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. CNNgo.com’s 52 Best Weekends can be seen on CNN Go Asia.
The DOT expects tourist arrivals to surge with the country’s exposure through two of the world’s most prestigious media outfits referred to by millions all over the globe.
“Hotels, tour operators, the transportation sector, the entire industry are more than ready to accommodate the influx of guests,” said Durano.
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