MANILA — Following the latest travel advisories of the United Kingdom and the Australian government on the Philippines, an expert on Monday urged the administration to further improve destination branding and image building to mitigate its negative effect to the country's tourism.


On the sidelines of the China-Philippine Economic Forum at the Tower Club in Makati City, John Paolo Rivera, associate director for Asian Institute of Management-Center for Tourism, said "travel advisories affect the image of our country" and affect how the government markets the Philippines.


"Even if we have heavy promotions on how beautiful our country is, or what are the new attractions in the Philippines, the travel advisory would have an effect how foreign tourists would actually be enticed to visit the country," he said.


"Even if the conflict happened somewhere else, they would always ask, is it safe in the Philippines?" he added.


To address this, Rivera urged the government, the mainstream media, including the social media to give a positive image about the country "perhaps about the people, about how foreign tourists would be treated when they are with Filipinos."


He said it would be more of a "destination branding" and "image building" which will be centered not on the conflict but on what is the country's comparative advantage, specifically the people.

Given that it is inevitable for countries to issue alerts to its citizens, Rivera acknowledged there is no direct solutions yet on this issue but said the administration may use available indirect solutions or alternative forms of promotion to reduce the negative effect of such advisories. (PNA)