With the sudden resignation of Alberto Lim as Secretary of the Department of Tourism, people have been speculating on who can best fill the position.
As a taxpayer, I too would like to offer my suggestions – names and faces that can fasttrack our efforts to attract more tourists. (These are my personal choices – and may not necessarily be yours.) Here goes:
1. Kuya Germs. The guy epitomizes the fiesta spirit of the country. Every show associated with him is blindingly colorful and crafted to mirror his unique and personal vision of the Great White Way – yes… a bit of Broadway, a bit of Clover theater. With him as tourism head, we can expect all our restos and hotels to be transformed into their maximum pahiyas splendor with singing cooks, waiters, dishwashers, doormen, bellboys, valets and janitors entertaining our foreign guests. He can capably mount an international roadshow to woo and stun prospective tourists to be hosted by Mr. Showman himself and sidekick John Nite… with opening prayers by Brother Mike… entertainment numbers by the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday groups of That’s… plus showstopping dance moves by Bella and the Bellestars. And he assumes office with a ready made slogan/battlecry…
2. Pepe Smith. The granddaddy of Pinoy Rock & Roll can easily position and differentiate the Philippines in a distinct, memorable way. Out-of-the-box thinking will allow us to leapfrog and overtake our swellheaded Asean neighbors. No predictable rubbish like “Fascinating Philippines” or “Picture Perfect Philippines”. Chances are, Pepe will go for the jugular… and declare:
3. Melanie Marquez. Women of all nationalities simply love shopping. And this next tourism chief material is a fashionable Filipina – a once-upon-a-time beauty queen – who can prod the ladies to shop where the desirable “finds” are in her unique, patented manner. And with her sparkling spontaneous pronouncements, she will be a natural magnet for international news organizations like CNN, BBC who will want to quote her at every opportunity. We will never be under the news radar. Ever again.
4. Vicki Belo. Medical tourism has been bringing hordes of tourists to the Philippines. Legit kidney transplant specialists and prolific faith healers are making a killing. But the key to significant tourist arrivals is really in… cosmetic surgery. The leading practitioner can be tapped to lead the campaign to capture a substantial chunk of foreign visitors. Dra. Belo can be expected to unleash her marketing savvy…
5. Gov. L-Rey Villafuerte. In less than ten years, he has transformed CamSur from one of the poorest provinces to the country’s No. 1 tourist destination. Along the way, he has campaigned to plant 12 million trees in his turf and is determined to make CamSur… the Singapore of the Philippines – a lofty dream but much better than no dream at all. I don’t know him from Adam but admire his passion… and his propensity to pre-visualize success.