MANILA (AFP) - – President Benigno Aquino ordered the scrapping of the Philippines' new tourism slogan after an attempted rebrand was criticised as boring and unattractive to tourists.
In the latest setback to attempts to revamp the country's image abroad, Aquino said on Saturday a better slogan should replace the motto "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" (Philippines What a Beauty), which his government introduced just days ago.
"The (tourism) stakeholders don't sound content. So probably, we need to do more than just fine-tune it. We should look for something more fitting," Aquino told reporters.
The president conceded that more people seemed to like the previous slogan, "Wow, Philippines", which was used by the government of former president Gloria Arroyo for some eight years.
Aquino said he had asked his tourism secretary, Alberto Lim, to show him the full blueprint of the new tourism programme so he could review it.
The "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" slogan has been bitterly criticised by tourism industry leaders and legislators.
Critics called it bland and said that the fact that it is in the national language, not English, made it incomprehensible to foreigners.
They also said the logo that accompanies it looked strangely similar to the travel logo for Poland.
The scrapping of the slogan was the latest in a series of setbacks suffered by the Tourism Department.
On Tuesday, it had to take down its latest online tourism campaign after critics panned the website and warned that unwary surfers aiming for the site at beautifulpilipinas.com could easily end up on a porn website instead.
The Philippines has been struggling to shake off its image as an unsafe destination after a botched police rescue of foreign tourists seized in a bus by a dismissed policeman in August left eight Hong Kong residents dead.
Lim has said he was confident the tourism ministry would attain its full-year target of 3.3 million arrivals, from just over three million in 2009.
Reposted From AFP