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Celebrities, social-media influencers help DOT push domestic tourism

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THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is ramping up its domestic tourism push by inviting various celebrities and influencers to visit destinations already open for local travelers.

Just this month, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat brought Scarlet Snow Belo, the daughter of skin specialist Dr. Vicki Belo and Dr. Hayden Kho, to Bohol. The six-year-old child celebrity has 4.9 million followers on Instagram alone.

On her Facebook page, where she posted photos of her trip with the Belos and Kho, the DOT chief said, “Point-to-Point travel from NCR Plus to areas under MGCQ [modified general community quarantine] areas has been open for leisure travel since June 1. Now that there are no more age restrictions to traveling, subject to a negative RT-PCR test result, her parents @victoria_belo and @dochayden took this opportunity to show her more of the country, and Bohol proved to be the perfect province for a family getaway. This is why I had the best time doing my Tita duties with @scarletsnowbelo and taking her around Bohol.”

The child celebrity and her parents also viewed the world-famous Chocolate Hills and visited the tarsiers at the Philippine Tarsier Foundation’s sanctuary, “where the budding earth warrior learned a lot about protecting this iconic species,” said Romulo Puyat. (See, “Try on that bathing suit, Lola, for vacation with favorite ‘apo,’” in the BusinessMirror, June 14, 2021.)

Under the Reformulated National Tourism Development Plan (RNTDP) 2021-2022, the DOT is supposed to design and implement innovative marketing and promotions programs, which includes the “[implementation of] tactical promotions to complement branding by focusing on specific activity market segments that exhibits continuous and high growth i.e. farm tourism, diving, trekking/hiking, cultural events [and investing] in a mix of umbrella branding campaign and sustainability campaign.”

It’s all about the followers

According to DOT Assistant Secretary for Branding and Marketing Communications Howard Lance Uyking, using social media influencers are part of the agency’s strategies to promote domestic tourism. “For Scarlet, specifically it’s to help promote travel of all ages, as recently approved by the [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases],” he said.

Previously, DOT also invited vloggers and video content creators like Jason Magbanua, Ella Cruz, Julian Trono, and Vern Enciso Lim, who have an extensive number of followers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Magbanua, a popular wedding photographer, for instance, has 309,000 followers on YouTube alone, while Cruz has 5.7 million followers on Instagram.

Romulo Puyat also brought on her recent trips out of town well-known chefs like Sandy Daza (Ilocos region), who hosts two shows on the Metro Channel and has an Instagram following of 38,400; JP Anglo of Sarsa (Pangasinan) who has 202,000 followers on Instagram; as well as actors like Dimples Romana, with 3.1 million followers, who went to La Union.

Under the RNTDP, the DOT has targeted domestic tourists to reach 75 million this year from the 43.1 million estimated for 2020, and 100 million in 2022. Both targets are under the upside or mild scenario. (See, “Domestic tourism’s recovery in 2022 at earliest, 2024 at worst,” in the BusinessMirror, June 18, 2021.)

Image courtesy of BRP

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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