“Smart tourism” is getting a push in the country as the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced it has funded the digital transformation projects of several government units (LGUs) through the Tourism Promotions Board (TBP).
As of June, the TPB has already downloaded a total of PHP 111,653,600.00 to LGUs for smart tourism projects that include the development of the VIS.I.T.A. platform (an online visitor management and monitoring system), local tourism websites and mobile applications, and digital marketing tools.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said digital innovations now play an important role in the recovery of the tourism sector. From improving efficiency of business operations to generating faster promotions, digital platforms also allow for a safer environment for tourists through contactless transactions, virtual meetings, and visitor registration and monitoring, according to Puyat.
Baguio City led the development and deployment of the V.I.S.I.T.A. app in October 2020. V.I.S.I.T.A. app is now used in the regions of Ilocos and Pangasinan, Central and Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Metro Manila, and the provinces of Bohol, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Quirino and Zambales, and the cities of Bacolod, Davao, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Tuguegarao, and the municipalities of Agoncillo, El Nido and Pasil.
DOT’s digitalization funding included Oriental Mindoro’s tourism website www.travelorientalmindoro.ph and mobile application “Lakbay Oriental Mindoro”, launched recently. The website and web app will serve as a digital travel guide to the province’s 14 municipalities.
Through the TPB Philippines, the DOT has funded various programs and projects focusing on securing health and safety and restoring confidence of the consumers; refocusing packages and promotional specials; and marketing and communication of promotional materials.
These programs include the partnership with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) and the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) to subsidize 50 percent of the hospitals’ RT-PCR testing cost for qualified domestic tourists who only need to pay PHP 750 for the RT-PCR test in PCMC and PHP 900 UP-PGH.
The TPB funding also extends to programs that uphold sustainable initiatives and responsible travel, such as community immersion and interaction which are non-exploitative and not staged; slow food, slow travel concept providing added value to travelers, farm-to-table activities, and health and wellness activities.