Philippines’ New Tourism Slogan is Fun, But Will Social Media Success Result in Actual Visits?

The Philippines’ Department of Tourism has just unveiled its latest slogan enticing travelers to come visit the country. “It’s more fun in the Philippines” says the DoT, along with major efforts in marketing the campaign through mainstream media and social networks. But, with a name this long, won’t it have difficulty trending?

The Philippines' latest official tourism slogan has resulted in a handful of memes in the social media, with bloggers, tweeters and Facebook users contributing their "fun" things to do in the country.

The Philippines has had its share of different tourism campaign slogans. Perhaps the most memorable had been the early 2000s’ WOW Philippines, which was quite versatile, with “WOW” standing for different things such as “World of wonders” and the like. The agency’s 2011 effort to change the slogan was heavily criticized, particularly with “Pilipinas Kay Ganda”¬†being in the vernacular. It loosely translates to “The Philippines is beautiful,” but critics reasoned that it would do little to attract English-speaking foreigners.

Social Media Memes: More Fun, Indeed?

The latest “It’s more fun” slogan has sparked many a meme in the social media, with bloggers, tweeters and Facebook users contributing their own interesting take on the slogan. Photography is more fun in the Philippines, as photobloggers say. Running is more fun in the Philippines, according to runners. Sarcastic microbloggers have found other fun ways to (mis)use the slogan, though, with the likes of “Traffic. More fun in the Philippines,” or “Pollution. More fun in the Philippines.”

Travel blogger Anton Diaz has created a Pinterest collection of fun things to do in the country. What’s interesting is how the #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines hashtag itself has trended on Twitter worldwide¬†hours after the announcement.

But wait, with a slogan that’s 27 characters long, it’s a wonder it succeeded at all, amid Twitter’s 140-character limit.

Can Viral Marketing Bring in Tourist Dollars?

The campaign’s initial success is a much-needed boost to the country’s challenged tourism industry. The country only gets about 3 million tourists per year, compared with other countries in the region, which are faring better. For instance, Thailand gets 15 million visitors. The DoT aims to attract 12 million internationals yearly — and even Filipinos living abroad — with the campaign.

Philippine diaspora is notable, with about 11% of the country’s population living abroad as professionals, skilled workers, and migrants. This, coupled with a meager marketing budget, has prompted tourism officials to turn to social media in the hopes that the campaign would go viral. With #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines — and its alternate, shorter form #1ForFun — trending, it seems the effort is an early success. Tourism secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. is banking on the agency’s social media campaign. It seems their initial push has not been in vain.

But whether trending on social networks can translate to actual visibility among its intended target audience. Is it really more fun in the Philippines?