A private sector-led social media tourism program called Visit my Bayan was officially launched to ensure bigger visitor footprint especially for the least-travelled and visited but scenic spots in the country.
A brainchild of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry -Muntinlupa City Inc. (headed by Elvi Sanchez-Quiazon, general manager of Vivere), the Rotary Club of Muntinlupa, the national PCCI and the Tayo Na Pilipinas Inc., the corporation that developed the website and administrator of an online contest among local government units, the campaign will ensure higher visibility and promotion on the internet of both the least and popular scenic spots in the country for both local and global visitors.
LGUs that submit the best photo entries of the destinations being marketed (and they would pay for the registration of each entry from P2,500 to P10,000 depending on the LGU’s economic ranking of 1st to 4th class municipality or city) will benefit both from the global exposure and from the subsequent increase in visitor arrival and spending in their jurisdictions.
“We are definitely promoting tourism for a better economic growth for our country. More tourists mean more local jobs and sales to the communities and this will be positive for our GDP (gross domestic product) outlook,” explained Sanchez-Quiazon.
Vivere, opened its doors to the public in 2001 with all 210 rooms having six different ambiances that had earned awe of its guests and recognitions from award-giving bodies for being environment-friendly with a family-oriented service staff. Through its decors (of tribal weaves and rocks, branches and plants) “we give our clients an ethnic- feel of the outdoors right inside the hotel rooms and amenities,” proudly said Sanchez-Quiazon (herself a Gusi Peace prize awardee from the DILG).
Vivere hosted the launch of Visit my Bayan because “we strongly believe in the impact of tourism to economic growth and inculcating in our people pride of place and culture,” she added.
It would also be launching the largest human dove on March 2, which is expected to involve 14,000 in the human dove formation for global peace diverse in nationality, culture, faith/religion, gender and age with the corporations and academe.” Again, this is in collaboration with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the local government of Muntinlupa City as it would be held at the vacant lot right beside Vivere Hotel & Resort.
Sanchez-Quiazon said “without hospitality, it would be folly to even think of tourism. Thus, the Visit my Bayan project will transform the whole country into a tourist place with offerings that please the senses, stimulate the mind and gladden the heart.”
The project in effect is a public private partnership where NGO (PCCI), private (Tayo na Pilipinas Inc., a private company) and Muntinlupa City (government) are banding together and pooling their resources for a common cause that they are both passionate about, she stressed.
She said the influx of tourists will: a) encourage small entrepreneurs/micro small enterprise; b) jumpstart businesses that generate employment; c) build a pool of small capitalists that will perk up local economies; and d) dramatically transform the local landscapes.
“It is our fervent hope that improved economic conditions and living standards will result in getting our OFWs to come home to engage in fruitful economic activities that will avert the need to find jobs in foreign shores and encourage them to come home and stay with their families,” Sanchez-Quiazon said.
Visit my Bayan, she added, is a veritable invite to local tourists to visit each other’s municipalities to discover each other’s history, enjoy different cultures, savor each other’s cuisine and buy each other’s products and in the process get to know and appreciate each other better.
The project will engage the public through online voting for the people’s choice award. But the PCCI-MCI, which Quiazon heads, insists there will be carefully selected winners to be adjudged by experts from a neutral organization plus ambassadors or foreign chambers or international tourism experts for the global appeal. So, there would be three trophies for each of the 17 regions.
PCCI national president Alegria Sibal Limjoco said PCCI would like to bring Philippine tourism to the next level not just for the five ace destinations but to the entire country and to bring in $20 billion investments in tourism, since the Philippines is now in the dawn of the Asian century as it is a rising star in Asia.
We would not just wait for the tourists to come but on our own we must assess how we would make the Philippines a preferred destination, just like some of its neighbors in Asia.