MANILA – Would you like to have one of the 1,107 islands in the Philippines named after you?
That’s the come-on of the Philippine government in a bid to woo more Japanese tourists.
As part of its aggressive marketing to boost the country’s sagging tourism industry, Philippine officials, with the help of Japanese public relations experts, hatched the idea to raffle off the naming of 25 islands to Japanese tourists.
Dubbed “An Island in Your Name,” Philippine Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano hopes the effort will lure more young and adventurous Japanese tourists to visit the Philippines, a nation considered dangerous by some Japanese.
The promotional event will kick off in October.
The 25 Japanese raffle winners will not own the islands, Durano explained. Instead, the winners “will have the prestige of having these islands named after them for a period of one year.”
The 25 islands are part of 124 islets that dot Lingayen Gulf in Alaminos, a city in Pangasinan Province about 254 km north of Manila.
The famous Hundred Islands, 124 islets during low tide and 123 at high tide, are west of the gulf, which is known for crystal clear water ideal for swimming, snorkeling, fishing and scuba diving.
The 1,844-hectare Hundred Islands National Park is mainly limestone characterized by a wide reef flat. The park boasts a highly diverse ecosystem of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. “We expect to generate tremendous excitement and awareness about the Hundred Islands during the campaign,” said Durano, who went on an eight-day road show to Japan in June to sell the Philippines to tourists and investors.
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