|By Paolo Montecillo, Philippine Daily
Inquirer, Manila / Asia News NetworkMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 19, 2011--MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN) -- With the summer season now in full swing, the Philippines has ranked on top of a list of "resorts" that people all over the world look for on Google.com, the search-engine giant said in a statement.
The country also made it to the Top 10 of three different lists related to the words' "vacation," "summer" and "beach," results of Google's summer "Zeitgeist" showed.
The company's "Zeitgeist," which translates to "spirit of the times" in German, is a measure of the most-searched terms on Google.com, the world's leading search engine.
"In our tropical country where vacations in beaches or resorts can be pursued all year round and weekend trips to nearby pools or beaches is the local norm, the Philippines' ranking ... does not come as a surprise at all," the company said in a statement.
"With this much love for summer vacation in beaches and resorts, Google looks into the most popular local destinations for the first quarter of this year," the company said.
Trailing the Philippines in the resorts list were Fiji, South Africa, India, Singapore, the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Iraq, Canada and Namibia.
On the list of summer-related searches, the Philippines placed sixth. On vacation searches, the Philippines ranked ninth, and on searches involving the beach, the country was in fifth place.
On all of the lists, the Philippines was the highest-ranked country from Asia.
The results also showed that Coron, Palawan, which features pristine white-sand beaches and is largely undeveloped compared with Boracay, was ranked the fastest-growing local destination searched on Google.
Coron started to gain popularity ever since Banyan Tree Holdings announced plans to develop Diwaran Island in the area as the single largest integrated island resort in all Asia by 2012.
"The island paradise is popular for being a great shipwreck diving spot as well as for its therapeutic Maquinit Health Springs," Google said in a statement.
Behind Coron was the town of Sagada in Mountain Province, about 275 kilometers north of Manila. Completing the Top 10 list of fastest-rising local destinations were Laguna, Pagudpud, Boracay, Bohol, Puerto Princesa, Tagaytay, Camarines Sur and Baguio.
"Compared with the 2010 Summer Zeitgeist, which was dominated by beaches, this year's list shows Filipinos seeking destinations other than sand and sea," the company said.
Google said there was a notable decrease in searches on "beach" and "resorts" during the first quarter of this year compared with last year.
This may be connected with the late onset of summer this year, and an increasing trend around visiting more historical sites that do not involve being in the water to cool off.
"In 2010, the country experienced an unusually hot summer, with temperature hitting 39 degrees centigrade, prompting Pinoys to seek the water in unusually high numbers," Google pointed out.
Tourism has been tagged by the government as one of the major drivers for economic development, especially in the countryside.
The government has set a target of doubling the number of tourists visiting the Philippines from over three million in 2010 to six million by 2016.
The government is focusing on eliminating infrastructure bottlenecks, allowing more foreign airlines to fly to the country, and aggressive marketing to achieve this goal.
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