By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The government must “hype” the reopening of the Boracay Island since more “curious” tourists are expected to flock to the famous island following its six-month clean-up.
Senator Ralph Recto made the appeal on Thursday, saying this will aid in the recovery of the income lost during the closure of the world-renowned tourist spot.
“I think government should market the six-month closure as needed beauty rest and that after 25 weeks, it will wake up more refreshed and rejuvenated,” Recto said in a statement.
“When these facilities re-open, they attract more customers who are curious about the improvements or new attractions. In the end, the income lost during the renovation is immediately recouped,” he added.
“Government can even declare 2019 as Visit Boracay Year,” he proposed.
The Senate President Pro Tempore said Boracay’s closure could be the “one step backward, two steps forward” measure, adding that “makeovers are regular occurrences in the hospitality sector.”
“Kahit naman mga sikat na hotel, museums, parks, kapag nag-undergo ng renovation, inaabangan ang muling pagbubukas (Even popilar hotels, museums and parks — when they undergo renovation — people await for their reopening),” he said.
Recto then challenged the government, particularly the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), “to hype Boracay’s reopening so that the buzz created translates to more hotel and flight bookings.”
He said the administration could use the DOT’s P1.15-billion advertising budget for 2018 to launch a promotion “that will make Boracay’s renaissance an anticipated event.”
He said social media influencers could also be tapped, especially as Filipinos are among the world’s heaviest social media users.
“Maraming pwedeng gawin. Teasers, countdowns. All the bells and whistles. Pati YouTube posts, which can attract millions of views. Ngunit ngayon pa lang, dapat gawin na ito (We can do many things, such as teasers and countdowns. All the bells and whistles. Even YouTube posts, which can attract millions of views. But we should start on it as early as now),” he said.
“At kung sinuman ang mga commanders ng troll armies, masabihan sila na tumulong din (And whoever are the commanders of troll armies, we can ask them to help, too),” he added.
Recto, however, noted that the campaign is not the job of the government alone, but also the private sector.
The six-month closure of Boracay was approved by President Duterte to pave way for the rehabilitation amid its environmental degradation. The shutdown is effective on April 26.