Sta. Cruz island scores big for Philippines in int’l expo PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 17:32

The pink sands of Sta. Cruz Island, the city’s premiere tourist destination has scored big for the Philippines in the recently concluded Expo 2012 held in Yeosu, South Korea with the theme “The Living Ocean and Coast”.

The Philippine pavilion bagged two gold medals for creative display and theme development in the small pavilion category of the exposition. Featured in the country’s pavilion were corals and sand sourced from the country’s beaches including the pink sand of Sta. Cruz Island, white sand of Boracay, brown sand of San Lorenzo in Guimaras and black sand of Sto. Domingo in Albay.

The Philippine Organizing Committee and Tourism Promotion Board represented by Gwendolyn Batoon enplaned from Manila yesterday morning to personally present to Mayor Celso Lobregat in City Hall a plaque of appreciation for the remarkable outcome of country’s pavilion through the pink sands of Sta. Cruz island and other resources from other famed beaches in the country.

The gold plaque is the miniature facade of the Philippine pavilion in the Korean expo.

Mayor Lobregat expressed elation that the country won the top awards won in the global exposition. “It put not only the Philippines but also Zamboanga in the world map of tourism”.

Batoon said the Philippine pavilion aimed to promote the new brand “More Fun in the Philippines” portraying the country as a destination where fun and sustainable tourism coexist.

At the initial stage, the winning design for the Philippine pavilion was made by Deo Alam, a Muslim, whose design had 3 representative clusters: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Batoon said when sands from Mindanao region were searched on google, Sta. Cruz island kept popping out, thus, the Department of tourism decided that Sta. Cruz Island facility is the perfect destination to find pick sand and to represent the Mindanao cluster.

“We fared very well in the expo because the expo was visited by over 8 million visitors of which 850,000 attended the Philippine pavilion and if we are to count all the number of audience we enjoyed over a 3 months for the various events we created to promote the new tourism and country brand “it’s more fun in the Philippines”, Batoon said, stressing that calculating the returns in investment, the country spent no more than $2 per person to promote the brand in the most important source of tourism market—the Korean market”.

She added: “In the latest development meeting we had [at the DOT], Sta. Cruz Island will be prominently mentioned as one of the destinations that national government will promote”.

Batoon expressed confidence that Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga, with all its potentials, will be a magnet of tourists not only from Korea but from other countries as well. 

The Philippines bested 11 countries in the small pavilion category during the expo. In the creative display criteria, it was followed by Lithuania (silver) and Mexico (bronze). Tunisia and Vietnam, meanwhile, won the silver and gold medals for theme development, respectively. — Sheila Covarrubias