SEAir planes now bear tourism ‘fun’ slogan
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The fun in the Philippines has reached the stratosphere.
Touted as a first in the country’s airline industry, a Philippine carrier is now wearing the signature colors of the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign to help spread the word around, especially to neighboring countries.
South East Asian Airlines (SEAir) has dedicated two of its brand-new Airbus 320s to promoting the Philippines as a prime destination in the region by painting the country’s colorful logo on the aircraft’s front fuselage.
The airline will carry the logo for three years based on the DoT-Seair agreement.
The planes will fly daily from Clark International Airport and Manila domestic airport to Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, Davao and Kalibo in Aklan—the gateway to Boracay.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. on Sunday likened the airline’s initiative to a “flying billboard,” which, he said, would remind people—either passengers of the aircraft or spectators on the ground—why the Philippines would be worth their visit.
“That’s a flying symbol of the people’s desire to make sure that tourism is a viable industry for the Filipino people,” said Jimenez in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the sidelines of the launch of the DoT-SEAir tie-up.
The launch coincided with SEAir’s inaugural flight from Manila to Davao City and the opening of the traditional Kadayawan Festival, which celebrates the bountiful harvest of fruits and flowers, and which attracts tourists.
It was still dark for the Davao-bound passengers to notice the colorful insignia when they boarded the first flight with the logo before dawn on Sunday, but they were delighted to see it when they alighted from the aircraft more than an hour and a half later.
Some took time to pose for a souvenir snapshot with the plane before they headed for the airport’s arrival area.
“This kind of investment in the future of tourism in the Philippines proves that tourism is not just any other economic activity in our country [but] now it is for all intents and purposes a national industry,” Jimenez told journalists.
“And what could be a more powerful symbol of that than an airplane carrying the brand colors of ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines.’ It reminds domestic and international travelers of this country’s primary offering and that is a superior touristic experience in the country,” he added.
Inspired by its pioneering efforts that opened up the country’s “paradise destinations” to domestic and foreign tourists in the past 17 years, the airline pushed through with the initiative as a symbol of its commitment to helping develop tourism in the country, said SEAir chief executive officer Patrick Tan.
Founded in 1995 by Captains Iren Dornier, Nick Gitsis and Tomas Lopez, SEAir was the first to offer “paradise-to-paradise routes,” which linked Puerto Princesa City, El Nido and Boracay, Tan said.
It was also the first airline to bring mainstream tourism to Batanes by offering double daily flights to the country’s northernmost and smallest province.
“It’s that pioneering drive … that commitment of going forward in the low-cost regional model that led us to requesting the DOT for permission to use the logo on our aircraft,” Tan said in a separate interview with the Inquirer.
He said carrying the tourism logo as the SEAir fleet flew in and out of various Asian countries would help produce positive branding for the Philippines.
“With SEAir’s daily regional flights, we are spreading the news that Philippines is where travel is at its best,” Tan said.
“The sights and sounds that our country has to offer are some of the best-kept secrets in the world and we are proud to be able to play a role in getting the word out and getting more travelers to experience all the things we have to offer,” he added.
For this year, the DoT expects to meet its target of 4.6 million tourist arrivals under the new tourism campaign launched only in January.
By 2016, it expects P1.9 trillion in revenues from both international and domestic travel.
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