SkyJet CEO: It's More Fun in the Philippines, Not Just Boracay and Palawan

Dr. Joel Mendoza, CEO of SkyJet Airlines is calling on the Department of Tourism to expand its marketing to include more Philippine tourism destinations than just Boracay and Palawan. 

skyjet joel mendoza
Photo Source: SkyJet
Mendoza is asking industry stakeholders and tourism officials to collaborate on an effort to market new destinations. "The country has more exotic destinations aside from Boracay and Palawan that the world has yet to discover," said Mendoza. "Caramoan was just another one of our taken for granted gems until Survivor raved about it. Many foreign travel wholsalers believed in its potential and we now have more foreigners coming over."

The CEO went on to say that many foreign travellers are more familiar with the Caramoan Islands and other relatively unknown hot spots than local Filipino tourists. "We have 7,107 islands! There is still so much more the Philippines has to offer," said Mendoza. He believes that the country can expand its market base faster if the world could see all that the Philippines has to offer and not just Boracay. He says that most tourism destinations in the country already have a loyal following and enjoy the economic benefits of tourism but the country needs to help expand that. 

According to Mendoza, there is an opportunity for each province to replicate the collaborative effort that was undertaken to promote Batanes as an eco-cultural tourism destination involving communities and locals. Such an approach can be more potent and effective if done one province at a time. In Western nations, destination marketing activities are typically a collaborative effort of government and the private sector. In many cases, the business community takes the lead while the government merely acts in a supporting role. 

There are several city and regional based destination marketing organizations that are membership driven and solely funded through its own activities and government funding or marketing fees charged through hotels. The benefit of such a model is that the marketing organization is accountable to the private sector and primary stakeholders ensuring no political interference or vulnerability if conditions change. It helps to maximize resources and efficiency in addition to recruiting skilled individuals. The current model in the Philippines is heavily reliant on government with little accountability to the private sector or stakeholders. This raises the question as to who ensures that provincial or city tourism officers are effective in their positions marketing a destination. If such responsibility is left to government, the reality is they may not care enough as they can't see the potential or economic benefit of tourism.   

Meanwhile, SkyJet's CEO appealed to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. to address the marketing imbalance by promoting new destinations but focusing on a particular destination at a time. "Why don't we all agree on coming together for the greater good of our country and use shared resources to focus promotions on Caramoan or Siargao as an example," said Mendoza. "The government cannot do this alone. It needs to be supported by the private sector, the local communities, and the media especially."

For Mendoza, tourism is the best way to achieve the inclusive-growth that President Aquino is advocating where communities may benefit from the country's national assets. A recent report released showed that the country's highly acclaimed economic growth was not trickling down to the poor of the country and not resulting in any additional job creation. "It is said that tourism has a domino effect because it produces more jobs and livelihood opportunities for the communities that host tourist attractions. More visitors mean more people needed to service them, more food consumed, more places to sleep in, more souvenir items to buy, and so on," said Mendoza. 

The SkyJet CEO certainly seems to be on the right path but until the country can find more tourism champions like Mendoza, such a vision will be challenging to execute until community leaders step forward to bring the communities, government, and private sector to the table to effect change. Are hundreds of tourism officers around the country capable of such an initiative? The country will have to wait and see. One can only hope that now the challenge has been put out, someone will step up to lead the charge. 

SkyJet is doing its part flying to the less known but equally intriguing destinations of Batanes and Virac (Caramoan) helping to make them more accessible to tourists. In August, Surigao will be added to the list of destinations served by SkyJet's fleet of British Aerospace 146 aircraft. SkyJet also serves Coron on Busuanga Island and is expected to launch service to Catarman in the near future. 

1 comment:

  1. hope sky jet could service the manila-antique-manila route.


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