New Years Eve Rant: Open Letter to Sec. Alberto Lim
This won't be off-topic as it's a rant post and sort of an open letter to Sec. Alberto Lim, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. After this letter, it's time to move on...Happy New Year to all!
Dear Sec. Alberto Lim,
I don't doubt your sincerity to increase the number of tourists visiting the Philippines but I noticed your ideas on how you intend to do it won't really help you in your quest.
First, that "open skies" will bring in the tourist.
Is that so? Have you checked all foreign airlines entitlements to the Philippines? Are they all filled to the brim that they can't be accommodated or were they not used due to lack of passengers? Was this validated by the Civil Aeronautics Board who claim the opposite? It's due to lack of demand, demand that should be produced by the DOT and Filipinos, to bring the tourists, not the myth of "open skies"
Second, after the Luneta hostage taking fiasco, you brushed aside the effect and said "Hong Kong is a small market" now realizing that Hong Kong is part of China where growing number of tourists come from. The future of tourism is not from the US and Europe but from East Asia particularly China.
Third, you statement that struck Tutubi most that "Backpackers leave waste." Have to admit some backpackers leave waste but also your high-end tourists leave waste too, like those "educated" people inside SUVs throwing trash outside their window. Why is it that even with the presence of too many backpackers in Thailand, I saw the country as much cleaner than the Philippines, no urine-smelling places that Metro Manila reeks of. True backpackers and mountaineers adhere to the adage "Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures" ethical mentality.
Fourth, "Backpackers don't spend enough" that clearly betrayed you just don't understand backpacking. Backpackers scrimp on expenses, don't stay at expensive hotels/resorts (like the one he developed in Palawan some time ago) for they only need a place to sleep and rest BUT they do stay longer that your "usual tourists" to stretch the most out of their money. And most of the time, the community benefits due to the fact that even homestay accommodations and public transportation are patronized by backpackers (compared to your usual tourists come in airconditioned buses and private tour vans). You don't know the true impact since they go straight to ordinary people and not the pockets of the moneyed few who own the resorts. They impact the economy and they come in droves that's why it's really, really foolish of you not to develop the Philippines as a backpacking destination.
Fifth, “maximize its potential of being an English-speaking nation.” That too old "come on" of the Philippines as an english-speaking nation. Aren't you aware that almost half of tourists ho stayed at Metro Manila hotels in 2009 were East Asians: Koreans, Japanese, Chinese (China and Hong Kong) and Taiwanese who don't speak English at all? Their number is steadily increasing and they don't care about the negative travel advisories issued by the western world led by the US and the UK who happen to experience terrorist attacks in their own backyard.
Focusing too much on English, like the DEPED, won't cut it as the world's economy is shifting to Asia. Thailand has problems in English yet visited by tourists many times over than the Philippines, most of them backpackers.
"Few visitors also got to experience the country's rich cultural heritage since there were not that many museums to put artefacts on display"
Really, Tutubi loves museums but most Filipinos don't. They only visit museums on a field trip where they get herded out of buses/vans into the museums. Did you know that annual visitors to the National Museum of the Philippines can be dwarfed by visitors of SM Mall of Asia in a day? As such, museums are in a sorry state made worst by very few visitors. Most museums in the Philippines forbid taking photographs, such a medieval prohibition that's no longer practiced in most countries.
With your kind of mindset that resulted to your insistence of the need for a new slogan and logo that resulted in a fiasco, all made with your approval, but turned to be a fiasco and embarrassment, expect Philippine Tourism to be just the same, or worse, than previous years-- lagging with South East Asian neighbors -- due to misplaced priorities and unfounded beliefs!
I know you already know/aware of these things, here are some "link loves" to refresh your memory or update you just in case you missed the news and writings about you, not the "praise releases" of your DOT henchmen including the incredulous claim on one of the "DOT Praise Releases" where it was mentioned that you "founded the Palawan Tourism Council, which is responsible for Palawan’s rise as a veritable tourist destination."
Lim and Palawan Tourism
Chinese The Future of PH Tourism
No Need for Open Skies
Open Sky won't solve the problem
Why open skies policy will fail PH tourim
Tourism Chief Represents Foreign Interests CA Told
Myths Behind Blue Skies
Cebu Tour Operators Hit DOT Moves
Lastly, try to get more people passionate about travel and really know our country. Heck, your people can't even put up a very informative tourism website with original articles (thank the bloggers for giving alternatives) and even registered a domain name very similar to a porn website.
Happy New Year, Mr. Secretary!
Wish you realize wrong moves you had last year and correct them in 2011 for PH to truly attain our country's true tourism potential.
I explore, therefore I blog!
posted by backpacking philippines @ 11:59 PM,
- At Jan 1, 2011, 1:33:00 AM, pusa said...
True! I share your sentiments!
Happy new year
- At Jan 1, 2011, 7:03:00 PM, Traveler on Foot said...
ang yabang naman ni secretary lim to say these things about backpacking. His campaigns and statements are not friendly to local tourists.
President Noynoy, we need a new tourism secretary.