Why Two Major International Pageants are Eyeing the Philippines as Host

Two major international pageants are currently serenading the Philippines to host their pageant; Miss Universe for the 2017 edition and Miss World for 2018. Why is both pageants serenading the Philippines to host their respective pageants?

Sashes&Scripts tries to uncover why the Philippines is enjoying such attention from both the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants. It all may just boil down to two factors. Here are two of the biggest reasons why…
The Filipino Fanbase – the Philippines is perhaps the biggest market for pageants outside Latin America. You cannot go anywhere to have your pageant if there is no such clamor for it. It would be foolish to establish a base where you are not welcome. And the Philippines is very welcoming to pageantry. 
With Filipino communities spread throughout the world, tapping to the Philippine market would be tapping to a global audience. It is estimated that at least 2.4 million Filipinos* are working outside of the Philippines, this statistic does not take into account their families who are living with them abroad or the Filipinos who are carrying non-Filipino citizenships. That number could possibly double up or more. That is a huge number to cater to and once you get the loyalty of Filipinos, it’s as good as its weight in gold.
In addition to that is the power we have over social media. We can make any topic or pageant for that matter the trending topic on any social media platform on a massive worldwide scale. A clear strong point (or weak point, depending on your perspective) among Filipinos is the mob mentality that we could swarm any socmed platform to promote what we love (or the negative side of it, what we dislike or even hate). Such illustrates the power of the Filipino fanbase.
Let’s also mention how the Filipinos can support girls from other countries besides the Filipina rep. In fact, any of the Miss Universe candidates are given warm welcome by the Filipino people. Such display of hospitality is second nature to Filipinos, ever wonder why the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan has gotten a supplement line: “When you’re with Filipinos, You’re with Family.” Because of the world renowned Filipino hospitality, there are 100 million reasons why tourists would want to come back to the country. Why do you think the Miss Universe pageant wants to have it again in Manila within the span of less than 12 months? Any pageant candidate is treated like a celebrity. Even the heads of the pageant, pageant officials, judges, are treated as such.

Asia is the new Economic Power – yes you heard it right. Asia is where the money is and you have to follow where the money is. Asia as of the moment is a neutral market (Africa and Europe are MW territories while North & Latin America are dominated by the MU) which makes it a prime demographic to conquer.
The Philippines is posed strategically at the entryway of Asia (figuratively and literally) which is ideal to get a foothold of the Asian market. Gaining a strong base in the Philippines would give any pageant an advantage over the Asian Market. Expansion wouldn’t be difficult if you gain a foothold on the Philippines… Thailand, Indonesia, China, India, Vietnam, etc… are easily within reach once you get a foothold in the Philippines.
This is possibly why China is such a MW favorite, the only problem is that China is seen more as a political threat to any country rather than an ally. You can possibly survive with China as a major sponsor but it wouldn’t get you so far (long term planning wise) as it can make you hostage to its whims. Which is a far contrast with the friendlier/ pacifist nature of the Philippines in general. Pageants couldn’t acquire more stable grounds if it tries to go the route of Indonesia (which is a hardsell for MU considering the swimsuit competition) despite a bigger population as the pageant system is relatively young. Thailand is a close second possibility next to the Philippines, but the frivolity of hosting a major pageant might still be too close for the mourning period from its late venerable king; though I have reason to believe that soon as a foothold in the Philippines is established, the next possible goldmine would be the Land of Smiles. Far more developed countries such as Singapore, South Korea and Japan are difficult markets to conquer as general interest is relatively low compared to the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia or Vietnam.
The Philippines is not a poor country as some may think, never underestimate the 7,107 islands of the country or its 100 million population. And while we are talking about numbers it is said that Php180.3 billion* is remitted back to the Philippines by Overseas Filipino Workers in 2015. There is also a marked growth on the GDP from US$199.6 billion in 2010 to US$292 billion in 2015**. Which says a little bit about Filipinos’ purchasing power. There are also reports of how Filipinos are the “most optimistic spenders” in Southeast Asia***. This means that aside from the basic necessities, Filipinos “would spend on holidays, home improvements, and out-of-home entertainment” as Rappler reports. Domestic tourism increased steadily at 14% over the past 5 years compared to foreign tourism at only an average of 8%****. Which goes to show that Filipinos are a huge potential market to mine. The potential is endless.

Pageants like any other industry follow economic and political trends. You might decry it as unfair but such is the reality in business, after all pageants are part of the entertainment industry. No matter how hard pageantry tries to put ‘charity’ on its face, it still involves a huge amount of money. Hence, it only makes sense to go where the rising economies are and that is in Asia. Couple that with a strong fanbase with a huge market potential and voila! You get the Philippines… a place where potential gains is found with a very open and receptive market. Now you know why the two biggest international pageant rivals, Miss Universe and Miss World, are competing for the affection of the Philippines. Question is who gets to have a stronger foothold?

Footnotes:
* https://psa.gov.ph/content/total-number-ofws-estimated-24-million-results-2015-survey-overseas-filipinos
** http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD
*** http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/100760-nielsen-survey-filipino-optimistic-consumers
*** http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/domestic-tourism-hot-as-summer/

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