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Philippines Pulls Down New Tourism Website After User-Misdirection to Porn Link

by Tanya Thomas on  November 20, 2010 at 11:14 AM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
The Philippines said Wednesday it had pulled its latest online tourism campaign after critics panned the rebrand and warned that unwary surfers could easily end up at a porn website instead.
 Philippines Pulls Down New Tourism Website After User-Misdirection to Porn Link
Philippines Pulls Down New Tourism Website After User-Misdirection to Porn Link
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The site, www.beautifulpilipinas.com, was taken down on Tuesday, just a day after it was launched by the tourism department, said Evelyn Macayayong, interim head of the ministry's tourist information office.

Critics panned the decision to use the local spelling of the country's name, warning that a site with a very similar web address was pornographic.

Macayayong said the domain name would be changed, but the main reason the site was pulled was that readers had pointed out other errors.

"We are currently editing some grammatical and typographical errors on the write-ups, which have been observed by our readers," said Macayayong.

"Most of these have been lifted from the old website as well as affiliate sites such as those of the regional and overseas offices. The revised version will be ready as soon as the corrections are made."

The rebranding itself -- which featured a candy-coloured logo including the slogan, a coconut tree, an endangered primate called a tarsier, the sun and waves -- also came in for criticism.

Some called for the country's eight-year-old tourism slogan, "Wow Philippines", to be brought back.

Posts on networking sites about the "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" (Philippines What a Beauty) website described it as "bland," and "lacking punch".

Filipino tourism industry pundit Ivan Henares wrote on his popular blog, "Ivan About Town": "I can't understand why (we) want to get rid of a brand our country has worked so hard to build and invested so much money on."

In response, Macayayong referred AFP to Tourism Minister Alberto Lim's speech at Monday's launch.

"It is a radical departure from what our neighbours are doing, and to the faint of heart, a bit risky," Lim had said, defending the rebranding as a result of market research conducted by an unnamed major advertising firm.

Macayayong said she could not say when a revised version of the new website would be back up.

The Philippines has been struggling to shake off its image as an unsafe destination after a botched police rescue of foreign tourists seized in a bus by a dismissed policeman in August that left eight Hong Kong residents dead.

The ministry said in a statement that tourist arrivals in the eight months to August were up 15 percent from a year earlier to 2.3 million.

Lim said he was confident the ministry would attain its full-year target of 3.3 million arrivals, from just over three million in 2009, even though the government expects some fallout from the hostage fiasco.

"Even if we incur a slowdown in the months following the hostage-taking incident, we are optimistic that November and December figures will be on the rebound as historical peak periods," Lim added.

Source: AFP

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