For the first time ever, the Philippines raked in three prestigious awards in the just-concluded Tour Expo 2007 in Daegu, South Korea, besting over 20 countries among 73 participants occupying 189 booths in this international event.
Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace H. Durano announced the country’s triple victories after Team Korea Head Maricon Basco-Ebron of the Department of Tourism (DoT) had received the awards in his behalf from Daegu Metropolitan City Tourism Association chairman Lee Hee-Do and Korea Tourism Association chairman Shin Jook-Mok at the Exco, Daegu.
At the awarding rites were various tourism officials and members of Korea’s national assembly and the diplomatic corps.
"The awards reflect the earnest efforts of the DoT in promoting Philippine tourism in South Korea’s outbound market, now our country’s biggest source of foreign tourists, posting more than half a million arrivals last year," Durano said.
The three awards, according to Ebron, were Best in Tourism Publicity, Best in Booth Operation, and Best in Folkloric Performance.
Sponsored by Philippine Airlines, the Philippine booth donned unique merchandising features, creative point-of-sale display, and attractive raffle promo and outstanding performances of the ROFG (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group) that lured throngs of Korean visitors. "These factors accounted significantly for our triple win," Ebron explained.
The ROFG members, clad in colorful native costumes, drew large crowds of spectators as they performed cultural song and dance numbers in the Philippine booth and on stage, often enticing the audience to do the tinikling at the end of each performance.
The group, led by lawyer and rondalla master Orly Ocampo and composed of four boys and four girls, all 14 year olds, played various string instruments even as they sang and danced to attract and please the visitors, who were mostly travel wholesalers and end-users (outbound Korean tourists).
Similarly competing for visitor attention are various tourism entities, organizations and government agencies from such countries as Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau, Indonesia, China, Maldives, Turkey, Mongolia, Ecuador, Romania, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Egypt, South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, Laos, Kenya, Korea, and the Philippines.
These exhibitors came up with various stunning displays, marketing promos, and cultural performances, which the Philippines beat in three important award categories to post the most number of honors received during the event.
The awards topped DOT’s feat last year when the Philippines won two awards – Best in Tourism Publicity and Best in Booth Operation – in the same event.
"This year’s wins also proved the wisdom in DoT’s market-specific promotional strategy, which is based on the actual requirements and nuances of the Korean market," Durano said.
The DoT has been promoting Philippine tourism in Korea through localized marketing targeted at four major market segments – students, honeymooners, holiday seekers, and incentive and special interest groups.