DAVAO CITY -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) kicked off its “Go South Philippine Islands” campaign to showcase Mindanao’s beautiful and rich culture.

DOT assistant secretary Eden Josephine David said the campaign is a strategic marketing of all regions in Mindanao to have a stronger and unified voice for the whole island as one tourism destination.

"The Go South will bring promotion of Mindanaoh destinations to greater heights," she said.

David said the campaign is a new, fresh articulation of the attributes of travel and the pinning of Mindanao tourism brand values such as fun, exotic and authentic.

"The Go South campaign fits the personality of our target market niche who are the millennial--the younger generation who loves fast-paced adventurous, one click action-packed life," she said.

David said this is Mindanao's new message and tone that influences people to go outside their comfort zone and boundaries and try new things.

"The millennials are the travelers we are gearing this campaign for. As we focus on promoting our islands, Mindanao is showing the beauty of its own by positioning it with 'unique experiences' to try, the 'You only Live Once!' experience," she said.

The Go South was launched on Friday at the Marco Polo Hotel. This materializes the objectives of the October 2016Memorandum of Agreement signed by Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo with the Tourism Infrastructure and Economic Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Mindanao Development Authority to initiate and pave the way in enhancing Mindanao connectivity via land and air.

This will improve the accessibility of Mindanao tourism destinations.

"This is emanating from the Mindanao Communication Plan which was the program primarily to establish the Mindanao Land Connectivity, Mindanao Air connectivity and the Mindanao Mice Program," David said.

She said the Mindanao Regional Directors convened and developed One Mindanao Tourism campaign which further was enhanced as Go South Philippine Islands Campaign to pursue the continuity of the program.

"Secretary Teo has brought with her the whole DOT family to launch Go South Philippines Campaign here in Davao. The campaign has been designed to complement the marketing efforts of the Department of Tourism nationwide," David said.

On the hindsight, David said the campaign is not simply a call for travel but it's about embarking on a journey of trying new things and not holding back anymore.

"This is who and what the millennial are! Go surf in Siargao! Go Rafting in CDO! Go Dive in Talicud Samal and Camiguin, Go Sky Dive in Dipolog, Go culture in Sox, Go Regatta in Zamboanga, Go Durian in Davao, Go Tuna in Gensan, Go swim in Mati and Surigao and many more," she said.

David said the South offers so much especially to the needs of the largest travelers in the land.

She said about 38 percent of domestic tourists are 15 to 24 years old who are adventurous young people, fun-loving and hungry for new travel experiences.

The campaign is intensive on social media with its presence on social media sites.

"We are going to curate the community with its existing habit of producing high-quality social media photos that represent the best in Mindanao, from landscapes to expression of culture," she said.

She said The Go South Philippine Islands will also be the banner campaign to be adopted by the Go Mindanao Bus.

"The grand launch will be in May 2018. For its maiden trip, 30 buses will be plying from Manila, which will bring foreign tourists, social media influencers, international and local media, national tour operators to Cagayan de Oro all the way to Davao," David bared. (Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA)