When I heard of the news that the Department of Tourism has allocated Php100M to overhauling their website I couldn’t help but gawk with disbelief. Php100 million for a website?!
The said website which would be used for the online marketing of the new branding for Philippine tourism: ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda!‘, had just been recently launched: www.beautifulpilipinas.com
According to the DOT, included in the Php100 M cost of over-hauling their website included other promotional materials and support activities like ‘360-degree photography, digital marketing, and linkages to partner agencies, up-to-date information on events, hotels, airlines, resorts and the likes.’
Well it better be. Because there’s no way in hell you can justify spending Php100M just on a website. It’s just absurd. So stupid. So ‘Imeldific’!
The website is now up and running, though half-finished and littered with dead links and empty pages.
Correct facts = Better impressions
If this is the website the DOT has allocated 100 freakin’ million pesos for, then the Filipino tax payer deserves a refund. They could have at the very least spent part of that fund to hire scientists to double-check scientific facts in the website’s copy.
For there is a bit of false information about the tarsier. Which they used as a mascot for the new campaign. The copy which explains what ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda!’ is had the following statement about the Tarsier:
A cute tarsier, a marsupial endemic to the country, highlights our unique and playful character.
Whoever wrote that copy seriously needs to double-check that information. The tarsier is not a marsupial, it is a primate. The late Ernie Baron who taught us that the Tarsier is one of, if not, the smallest primates in the world1 would turn in his grave.
To illustrate the point, an expanded classification of the tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta or Carlito syrichta):
Species: T. syrichta
Marsupials2 on the other hand are the group of mammals with pouches where their young, which are born very early, are nursed until they are more mature to survive on their own. Most commonly-known specimens are kangaroos and koalas.
If this website would be the portal for tourists to visit online and see what the Philippines has to offer, then it’s important that we set the impression that we know the facts about what we offer, especially our wildlife.
Seriously, the tarsier to represent us Filipinos?
Another point I’d like raise, is that the usage of the Tarsier as a symbol of our ‘unique and playful character’ doesn’t quite work for me.
Sure the tarsier is a cute animal, but it could hardly represent us Filipinos as a playful character because it is very shy, timid and is active only at night! No wonder some bloggers have expressed concern that foreigners may misconstrue the domain name: beautifulpilipinas.com as a site for Filipina entertainers.
Promoting something not only involves flashy websites, fancy slogans, and well-written copy. However, such content must be double-checked for factual errors.
When the web portal is completed, I do hope the Php 100 M spent on it would be worth it. Next time around though, the DOT better find ways to keep costs down, as the government has to attend to more important things than tourism; like education, health and other social services.
Going back to the new tourism slogan, it would take a while to get used to ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda!’ as compared to ‘Wow! Philippines.’
Image by yeowatzupFootnotes: