The Latest Jaw-Dropping Stupidity from the Dept. of Tourism

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Yesterday as I was browsing my Facebook wall, I followed a link posted by BlogWatch to a Philstar article about a plan by the Department of Tourism to launch a new ‘country brand’ next month. Since the last outcome of a DOT branding project was the catastrophically hilarious Pilipinas Kay Ganda, I found reason for cautious optimism that, at least as far as the Philstar article describes the new initiative, the current management of the DOT appears to be taking a little more care with this second attempt.

That optimism quickly evaporated, however, once I followed a link to a ‘related story’ at the bottom of the page and found this little gem:

MANILA, Philippines – Promoting the country as a destination for divorcees is “practically synonymous to marketing the Philippines as a destination for sex tourists,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said yesterday.

The lawmaker was reacting to the statement of Tourism Assistant Secretary Domingo Ramon Enerio III that the agency is developing the Philippines as a destination for divorcees or those trying to recover from broken relationships.

Enerio earlier said that the divorcee market is an untapped sector that can be targeted for the long-stay tourism program. “If we can be a wedding or honeymoon destination, we can be vice versa and become a destination for those in search of personal fulfillment, including those… in flight from domestic turmoil,” he said.

He said the Philippines can offer both relaxation and adventure to these tourists.

Aside from divorcees, he said, other possible markets for long-stay tourism are retirees, semi-retirees looking for investment venues, medical tourists, those escaping from the cold winter season, and those who have affluent children.

WOW. People in the present Administration seem to have a gift for saying stupid things, but you, Mr. Assistant Secretary Enerio with Three I’s, are clearly their King. That has got to be the most ill-considered, creepiest idea anyone has ever suggested as an official tourism marketing concept since the word “tourism” was invented.

On a side note, “personal fulfillment” is one of the better double entendres I’ve heard in a while.

What makes the idea creepy, of course, is that there is a kernel of reality in it. The Philippines does have a bit of a reputation for being a place where one can have a good time, so to speak, but it is a reputation that a significant proportion of the country both inside and outside the halls of power are rightly sensitive about and are trying to change. Not only is Enerio’s suggestion offensive to the women of this country, it is seriously off-putting to any potential tourists: How attractive a destination is the Philippines going to be to the average vacationer, once he realizes he will probably be presumed to be a sex tourist? Even actual sex tourists would most likely be discouraged by that sort of attention.

Enerio could have stopped with the “come to the Philippines for some rebound sex” idea, but having baked that cake he obviously figured he might as well put some frosting on it, pointing out that the Philippines is a good long-stay destination for retirees (who can subject their fixed incomes to the world’s highest utility rates and steadily-increasing inflation), semi-retirees looking for investments (provided they’re not picky about not actually being able to own any of those investments), medical tourists (who are sure to be impressed by the medical tourism program’s biggest advocate desperately trying to leave the country for proper medical care), and people with “affluent children”.

If I had to guess, I’d say once those “affluent children” get wind of Enerio’s remarks, they’ll be booking their parents tickets to somewhere else. Which is regrettable, because the Philippines does actually have a lot to recommend it, if management of it could be kept out of the hands of insensitive louts.

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About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

23 Comments on “The Latest Jaw-Dropping Stupidity from the Dept. of Tourism”

  1. hookers, hustlers, hawkers
    paedophiles and sex tourists welcome!

    berate harry thomas and then this idiot opens mouth without engaging his little brain.

    average country IQ – 86
    average govt. IQ – 26

    1. Noynoy Aquino is a Mongoloid Idiot…he has no brain…so are his staff…he has already transmitted his Mongoloid Illness to his staff…Look at how De Lima is behaving…now it’s Enerio…

    2. If you notice the shape of the Philippines, it’s like humping something or at its knees waiting to be taken from behind.

  2. My say is on this is that there is no divorce in the Philippines. I don’t see it being legalized in the next 100 years. If I am going to get married and be a divorced woman, I wouldn’t go to a country where divorce is not legal. It would make me feel bad.

    1. Divorced people tend to be averse to doing things/going places in which “being divorced” is a specific precondition. Certainly, anyone who’s gotten divorced actually does something new or different because of it, but nobody explicitly acknowledges that as the reason.

  3. The irony is funny… the only nation in the world which prohibits divorce is trying to invite divorcees. Wonder if the CBCP has said anything on that yet.

  4. There is a video .A former classmate of Noynoy Aquino; telling us, that he suffered from Mongoloid Idiocy, in his Childhood. So, he had to attend a School for “Special Children”.
    In my opinion, Mongoloid Idiocy can be a communicable Illness. The Secretary of Tourism might have gotten his Boss’ Illness.
    Why not advertise : come to the Philippines, and enjoy our Boys and Girls Prostitutes? Foreign sex perverts will be accomodated!…Phedophile Priests will have a discount!
    The thought of Divorcees coming here to find new love, is laughable.I have traveled thruout the world…No, I never heard , such Mongoloid idea anywhere, to atrract tourists..Foreign retirees coming to invest here? So that we will swindle them of their hard earned pensions? Medical tourism? These tourists come from countries with Advanced Medical Technologies, and good Doctors…
    Can these Mongoloid Idiots of the Department of Tourism, think any better ideas?

  5. If this was not so sad I would laugh. The current administration is the proof of what happens to peoples brains when they eat too much junk food and watch too much junk movies and TV shows.

    The reason why 30,000,000 tourists and expats choose Thailand over the Philippines every year is not because Thailand is more beautiful, or because of the sex.

    In fact the Philippines is far more beautiful a country than Thailand and personally I find Filipino women for more beautiful than Thai women.

    Tourists choose Thailand because despite all the political turmoil over the last decade, The Thai government has always understood the importance of Tourism and foreign investment. Unlike here in the Philippines, tourists and expats in Thailand are welcomed and treated well.

    Unlike Thailand, foreigners do not feel safe here in the Philippines nor do they feel welcome. The local police see foreigners as an opportunity to squeeze them for money.

    This new tourism campaign will not cause more tourists to choose the Philippines, though it actually might open up a complete new market. People all over the world might start sending their mentally handicapped relatives to the Philippines because this is starting to look and sound like a mental asylum.

    The only way to get normal people to visit the Philippines will be by providing them with the feeling that the Philippines is beautiful and secure place where they will not have to look over their shoulders and feel like an ATM machine.

    Lastly lets all pray together for this mentally challenged administration.

    1. You are so right!
      I couln’t agree more!
      There are thousands of german tourists going to Thailand every year. But to the Philippines? Almost none. Here are some reasons:
      – Thailand is in every travel catalogue. they sometimes have their own catalogue. But if you are looking for the PHils, good luck then, they dont have a single page showing potential tourist the beauty of the philippines.
      – Non-stop flights from germany to bankok. and cheap flights too. but no cheap and non-stop flights to the philippines.
      – as mark already said: they can are welcome in thailand. if they would go the philippines the first word would maybe be “mabuhay” but the second “hey joe”!

      oh i can only tell you: i love the philippines so much. but as much as i love this country there are as much things that make me sad and angry. i hope they will finally wake up. they need to see that a real change is necessary to safe it from total collapse.

  6. Der brilliant nutzie mind is a marvel by itself! Reich tourism ministry assistant secretary Enerio shows the genius of Der Fuhrer at work. Many in the pro-democracy media say that der fuhrer is not a working or hands on fuhrer! So now the quality comes from his brilliant underlings. Dating/love games for divorcees has its ups and downs. How about a love boat, love hostel, love bars and love discos? Love groups and seminars would appeal to der Fuhrer! He likes to admire beautiful reich women.

    One brilliant reich kabarilan would say a wild west arab MILF mindanao adventure! Of course potential tourists must sign a waiver. They get to shoot down lawless elements and even interrogate them! But der Fuhrer might not like this as he loves very much his MILF friends! A mercenary tourism program would also provide rowdy fun for search and destroy specialists! But this might not work as der Fuhrer loves his MILF friends. All out justice is forgotten and scrapped for a while at least.

    Law enforcement adventure tourism is good too! The deputized tourists must sign waivers as they get a chance to shoot to kill real criminals infesting the reich street environment at night and even broad daylight. Prizes would include free dinners and free entry into discos and bars!

    One Kaalyansa of Der Fuhrer suggests street protest tourism in front of tourist destinations like der pro-democracy Supreme Court! This is a rather tame adventure as they don’t need to sign waivers. They get free food and drinks, free yellow crowns and banners, free star of David GMA cartoons and free support from the reich national police! They can shout all they like as they use free electronic megaphones and they can live der Fuhrer’s perceived version of EDSA 4, political carnival vida loca, dancing in der streets. Of course no littering is allowed!

    Der Fuhrer’s socialist Kaalyansa would like to see a living in the slums tourism adventure as the experience slumming with der poor people of the reich! Rewards include CCT doleouts for lucky tourists. Waivers must be signed due to the inherent dangers of crime, sickness and even leftist terrorists within the slum areas.

    I am sure there are more brilliant nutzie ideas waiting to happen in this brave new world of rising dictatorship! Perhaps a dictatorship adventure tour with pro-democracy and pro-fuhrer tourists battling it out in selected street areas! But that is another story! Sieg heil! Der Fuhrer is truly der great nutzie genius of the yellow master race!

      1. @Hyden Poo

        2 typos in a 5 word statement … should we call Guinness perhaps that’s a new record?
        Aside from, did you know what you were writing or was it only an expression of mental diarrhea?

  7. Dept of tourism latest initiative
    Essential english guide for all filipinas

    Gimmee money
    Thats extra
    I dont do that
    Want massage
    Are you divorcee
    I have young friend
    Can you get me visa
    Gosh, thats big
    I make you happy
    My (mother/father/sister) in hospital and needs operation.
    I prefer dollars

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