MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday that its new "Pilipinas kay Ganda" slogan is only a concept and it is not yet final.
Consultations have yet to be done before a decision is made if it will be used, DOT Secretary Alberto Lim said.
He added that the slogan was presented on Monday as a soft launch for the DOT to see how the public would react to the new brand.
Lim explained that it can be changed anytime if a better slogan comes up. He said he expected criticisms after the concept was made known to the public.
The DOT has taken down the website featuring the new slogan after finding out that a porn site uses the same keywords.
"We are open to suggestions. We are waiting for a better idea na kailangan ma-capture yun essence na what makes the Philippines a good and attractive tourist destination," Lim said.
He also defended the DOT’s decision to change the branding from “WOW Philippines,” as this has reportedly lost momentum after it was not used extensively by the Arroyo administration.
"We need to launch a new brand, kasabay ng bagong administrasyon. It is important to create a new buzz," Lim said.
Lim does not believe that using the Filipino language for the brand name would make it difficult for foreigners to understand the theme.
He said since the language is Filipino, it would be more interesting for foreigners to take a second look because they would be curious as to what it means. A translation will be placed under the brand, he added.
"They will be interested kasi may foreign sounding word, what are they trying to tell me?" Lim said.
Tourism officials have been thinking of a new slogan since July and they came up with "Pilipinas Gay Ganda," saying "Kay Ganda" is the best adjective that can be used to describe how beautiful the Philippines is.
Lim admitted, however, that using the Filipino language is risky especially at a time when most countries are using the English language to make ideas easier to understand.
"It is risky but I'd rather take the risk if we want to get ahead. We need an edge dahil maliit lang ang budget natin compared to other countries like Thailand and Malaysia." Lim said.
The DOT will still consult with focus groups to see how foreigners would react to the new brand name. Their opinion, he said, has more weight than what other Filipinos think because they are the target market.
He added, however, critics’ opinion will also be considered.
It may take a month or two before the tourism department decides whether it will go with the new branding or change it anew.
On the other hand, ordinary Filipinos have different opinions on the new branding.
Some are in favor, saying it might help attract more tourists.
Others do not agree, as they consider "WOW Philippines" as easier to understand for both foreigners and locals.