Leyte retains 'I shall return' tourism slogan

TANAUAN, Leyte -- There is no need for Leyte province to launch a new tourism slogan, since the famous words of General Douglas McArthur’s "I shall return" is still the best tagline in promoting Leyte to tourists, said Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.

Petilla's statement came after he was asked if the province will follow the footsteps of Tacloban City, which recently launched its campaign slogan "Tacloban: The Happiest People in the World" to lure more tourists.

Netizens widely criticized the tagline, citing grammatical errors and does not supposedly "reflect" on realities.

“Leyte Gulf Landing is one of the biggest events in the history of our province that we always commemorate and it instills patriotism (in) us. So we continue promoting that. For now, it should be sufficient,” Petilla said on April 11.

“I shall return” is the famous statement of MacArthur after expressing disappointment over the Japanese invasion in the country during World War II.

That promise then became his mantra during the next two and a half years and he would repeat it often in public appearances.

The American general fulfilled that promise when he landed in Leyte to liberate the country.

Banking on the popular statement, the province launched several years ago the tourism campaign "Once you see Leyte, you shall return."

“Many tourists have been returning to Leyte every year because of this. It’s still the best tagline for Leyte because we always want the tourist to return,” Petilla said.

Petilla said although the province has big tourism potential with the presence of famous island destinations, the best way to promote tourism is to fight poverty that threatens security.

“That is why we focus first our program on poverty and increase farm production. Because of this effort, we are now gaining the peace that we need and encourage investors to come in,” Petilla added.

The top island destinations in Leyte include Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town, Cuatro Islas in Inopacan and Hindang towns, and Canigao Island in Matalom town.

Petilla said although these beaches are beautiful tourist spots comparable to other world-class destinations in the country, the people remain as the "tourism asset" of the province.

“No matter how beautiful your place is if tourist and visitors are being harassed or victimized by robbers, tourists will never come back because of their bad experience,” Petilla said. (PNA)