Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, February 08, 2010

Creation of branding body asked

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor has urged the creation of a council that would tackle the branding of the Philippines as a tourism destination.

“We need to start a Philippine Branding Council,” said Gabor, now a consultant to the World Tourism Organization and is considered as one of the most powerful women in the field by “Travel Agent”, a newsweekly published in New York.

“The Philippines needs to create a Philippine Branding Council that will put the country’s tourism industry back on the right track, and establish a respectable brand that we decide for our country,” she said.

Gabor addressed on Saturday the more than 300 delegates to the four-day MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) 2010 Congress held at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) in this free port.

Speaking before delegates from travel agencies, operators and other tourism-related establishments all over the country, as well as guests from abroad, Gabor said the council should be composed of individuals of diverse disciplines who will “seriously study the nation’s global image.”

The experts will also take into account “all the important talents and treasures of the country,” Gabor said.

Gabor recounted that in preparing for the Subic convention, she called up some friends in Europe, Japan, the United States, Australia and Canada and asked, “What do you think of the Philippines today?”

“Sad to say, Imelda’s (Marcos) shoes still topped the list. The rest mentioned disasters, terrorism, corruption, domestic helps, and poverty,” she said, adding that in Spain, “Filipino” is a biscuit with chocolate and mocha flavor, while “Filipina” means a domestic helper.

Gabor said “Filipino” must be synonymous with talented actors and actresses — the likes of Lea Salonga – as well as for excellent health care, human resources, and fine embroidery, among others. By FRANCO G. REGALA - Manila Bulletin

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