NOW that the country is slowly relaxing some of its quarantine classifications in many areas of the country, the tourism sector is one of those badly affected by the pandemic that is seen to be opening up, especially those destinations that are accredited as safe to operate by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also said that as the country ramps up vaccination, travel and tourism can still be safe even if the country is still in the midst of a pandemic.
Supporting the DOT’s call to rebuild the tourism industry amid the pandemic, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. has stepped up efforts to promote historical and cultural information, especially to the youth, through one of the most important tools of today—the smartphone.
At the recently concluded Guimaras 4.0: Tourism Resilience in COVID-19 & Digital Transformation forum held by Guimaras State College on World Tourism Day, Smart and its partner, Innopub Media, underscored the advantages of Digital Tourism during this time of social distancing, especially for those who are still hesitant to visit destinations.
“Digital tourism allows destinations to enable a personal protective bubble for tourists. We can safely consume and interact with information through our personal devices, and can sanitize them at any moment,” Innopub Media founder Max Limpag told FrontpagePH.com.
“The history and stories behind a destination are also a big aspect of what makes travelling memorable. Therefore, merging digital and physical aspects of tourism creates a safe, fun, and remarkable experience
for travelers,” he added.
For her part, Smart Corporate Communications Officer Janille Rose Gultiano said that through this initiative, information, which was available only through historical lessons, is now widely accessible to everyone with a smartphone. “Our program provides pilgrims, locals, and tourists with timely historical and religious information that will fortify faith and cultural identity,” she said.
In partnership with Innopub Media, Smart’s Digital Tourism and Digital Catechism programs are designed to propagate tourism and heritage information through Quick Response (QR) codes, Near Field Communication (NFC) and mobile applications. Developed in partnership with public and private organizations, the mobile apps are comprehensive guides which provide information on where to go, what to do, where to stay when in a particular destination. These innovations are envisioned to involve more people in the tourism conversation, and to
encourage the youth’s appreciation for the country’s rich history and culture.
Since 2012, Smart and Innopub media have been rolling out the program in various destinations around the country, including Albay, Antique, Baguio, Bohol, Cebu, Dapitan, Davao, Dumaguete, Iloilo, and Sorsogon. Smart has since deployed free mobile applications and QR code-powered tourism markers in 20 partner locations, and over 40 catechism markers around the Philippines. Early this year, Smart also launched an interactive traveling exhibit in
collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cebu, to commemorate the 500 Years of Christianity in the country.
The program leverages on digital technologies to improve the lives and livelihood of communities by ushering them into the digital economy. This underscores the commitment of Smart and its parent company PLDT, to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #1: No Poverty, and #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
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