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Free tourism app released to guide Bohol visitors

Tourists visiting Bohol, including those travelling for the annual Sandugo festival, now have a handy guide to the province, with the free Bohol Guide app. The release of Bohol Guide…

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Tourists visiting Bohol, including those travelling for the annual Sandugo festival, now have a handy guide to the province, with the free Bohol Guide app.

The release of Bohol Guide is part of a nationwide Digital Tourism campaign by wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and new media startup InnoPub Media that harnesses mobile technology to deliver tourism, cultural and historical information. In Bohol, the program is implemented in partnership with the Bohol Provincial Government. Continue Reading

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Are you headed to Boracay? Share, tweet, post about your experience

Will you be among the thousands heading to Boracay for the Labor Day weekend? Share, tweet, and post about your summer experience, a tourism official said. Department of Tourism Western…

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Will you be among the thousands heading to Boracay for the Labor Day weekend? Share, tweet, and post about your summer experience, a tourism official said.

Department of Tourism Western Visayas Director Atty. Helen Catalbas and Smart Prepaid Head Joel Lumanlan encouraged the thousands of visitors expected in Boracay to share their experiences online to help promote the island.

An estimated 75,000 visitors are expected in Boracay over the Labor Day weekend from May 1 to 3, triple the number of visitors on regular summer weekends. Continue Reading

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Albay launches digital tourism program with Smart, InnoPub Media

Travel to the many attractions of Albay, from Mayon Volcano with its near perfect cone to Spanish period churches and other centuries-old structures, has been made easier with the launch…

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Travel to the many attractions of Albay, from Mayon Volcano with its near perfect cone to Spanish period churches and other centuries-old structures, has been made easier with the launch of a mobile app that serves as a handy guide to the province.

The Albay Guide, made possible through a collaboration among the Albay Provincial Government, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), journalism startup InnoPub Media, and other tourism stakeholders, is a comprehensive travel app that can be downloaded on iOS, Android, and Windows phones and other mobile devices.

Albay Digital Tourism

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda leads the unveiling of the Daraga marker to mark the launch of the Digital Tourism initiative in the province. The project is a  collaboration among the Provincial Government, Smart Communications, Inc., and Cebu-based startup InnoPub Media.

“Albay is one of the most beautiful provinces in the Philippines. It has been cited by international tour organizations as the best destination in Southeast Asia,” said Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

The app lists such Albay destinations as the Cagsawa Ruins, Lidong National Park, Mayon Skyline and Mayon Resthouse, Misibis Bay Resort, Lignon Hill Nature Park, Vera Falls, Kawa-Kawa Hill, Embarcadero de Legazpi, and Danao Lake and provides information useful to visitors, such as detailed instructions on getting to the sites and the many activities they can do when they arrive.

Albay Guide

Intrigued by Mayon Volcano’s perfect cone? The Albay Guide gives you the many ways you can enjoy Mayon.

Whether it is just to know the best spots to view or take a photo of Mayon or get up close and personal through an ATV Ride along the volcano’s lava trail, the Albay Guide is your best bet for information on these activities.

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to bring our digital tourism program to Albay in collaboration with our partners. The province has been a long time partner for various initiatives like disaster preparedness. Aside from enriching people’s travel experiences, digital tourism also opens up opportunities for local communities and businesses,” said Ramon R. Isberto, Smart public affairs group head.

Albay’s beauty, according to Salceda, is not limited to its natural assets. He said the province is also rich in arts and cultural heritage, citing its man-made citadels and monuments, a culinarian that showcases the best in food and thrilling innovations in fine dining, and ladies who have been winning beauty pageants around the world.

“With Albay’s 7.1 percent share in foreign tourists and expanding number of domestic visitors, Smart’s Digital Tourism program will further fortify the province’s position in a highly competitive tourism industry,” said the governor.

Digital tourism

The free Albay Guide app and digital markers on top destinations will lead to greater customer satisfaction through easily accessible tourism information and result in more repeat visitors, he added.

Albay Digital Tourism

Blessing of Digital Tourism markers, represented by the one that will be placed on Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church in Daraga, Albay.

“Digital Tourism will boost our product positioning and brand franchising of unique iconic features like Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Ruins and such unforgettable engagements as the Mayon ATV. It will also fortify our positioning as ecotourism, cultural, and culinary destinations,” Salceda also said.

Also provided in the mobile app are details on travel to Abay’s ancient churches and other heritage monuments, the best places to sample local fares like Bicol Express, pinangat, and sili ice cream, the best pasalubong and where to buy them, hotels and accommodations, as well the top things to do in the province.

The Albay Guide is one component of Smart’s digital tourism program that was launched last Friday, April 10, in the historic and majestic Our Lady of the Gate Church in Daraga, Albay.

“It is a unique launching place: it is on top of Santa Maria Hill, in front of the centuries-old baroque church, overlooking the center of Albay, and under the shadows of the Majestic Mayon Volcano. How nice it would be to unveil a technological wonder so close to the clouds yet firmly grounded on the natural wonders of Albay,” said Salceda.

Mobile travel

“Mobile plays a key role in travel. A study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT showed phones are used throughout the travel process – from getting travel inspiration to planning, booking, experiencing and even post traveling – with 67% of leisure travelers and 78% of business travelers using smartphones,” said InnoPub co-founder Marlen Limpag, “Our phones do not just keep us connected during our trips, they are our cameras, boarding passes, portable media players and, in our Digital Tourism program, travel guides.”

Interactive markers will also be deployed on special sites like churches, plazas, and monuments to provide visitors more information on Albay’s rich historical heritage.

The markers contain quick response or QR codes and near-field communications or NFC stickers that, when scanned or tapped with a compatible device, trigger the download of more information about a site or structure.

Smart’s digital tourism program is a nationwide initiative that harnesses technology to deliver tourism, cultural and historical information. Through the collaboration with InnoPub Media, the project has been rolled out in Cebu, Iloilo, and Baguio City. It was given an Anvil Award of Merit in February 2014.

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App offers tips, guide to Baguio visitors

People travelling to Baguio for the annual Panagbenga festivities now have a mobile app to turn to for quick answers to questions like where to stay, what to eat and…

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People travelling to Baguio for the annual Panagbenga festivities now have a mobile app to turn to for quick answers to questions like where to stay, what to eat and how to get around during the much anticipated flower festival.

Developed by Cebu-based startup InnoPub Media in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the Baguio Guide app is a reliable and handy tool, especially for first timers in Baguio City.

“With the Baguio Guide app, people can plan ahead their itinerary, accommodation and travel plans, and other activities they want to do in Baguio. It’s like a virtual tour guide that can help them maximize their stay in Baguio as they participate in the flower festival,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

Baguio Guide

Developed by Cebu-based startup InnoPub Media in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc., the Baguio Guide app is a reliable and handy tool, especially for first timers in Baguio City.

Must-try, must-visit

Apart from the section about the Panagbenga festival, the app also features helpful information about the city. Articles on must-try food and must-visit places in Baguio, as well as the Department of Tourism-accredited tour guides and tour operators are also listed in the guide.

One interesting feature of the app is the “tap to call” feature allowing users to call phone numbers in the app with just a click. It has a directory of important contact numbers of hospitals, emergency units, and police stations.

The app also provides location data. Some places featured in the guide are GPS-tagged with a “check location” link. With a single tap, the app will suggest routes and directions to the desired destinations via the GPS guide system of the users’ devices.

“The Baguio Guide is a useful resource to tourists because it is on a device that people take with them wherever they go: the phone,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag. InnoPub recently released a new version of the guide for Android users.

Panagbenga livestreaming

Smart, in partnership with Sun.Star Baguio, will also make available the live streaming of Panagbenga activities through the Baguio Guide app, from Feb. 28 to March 1.

The Baguio Guide app may be downloaded for free at Google Play Store and Windows Store.

The development of tourism e-guides is part of Smart’s digital inclusion advocacy, which aims to include more Filipinos in the digital conversation by making information available and accessible through the use of mobile and web technologies.

Aside from Baguio Guide, Smart and InnoPub also developed tourism guide apps for Iloilo City, Sta. Barbara (a town in Iloilo), Cebu City and Cebu municipalities namely: Samboan, Boljoon, Carcar, and Argao. Smart and InnoPub also developed the Sinulog Guide last year. Its 2015 version released last month generated around 2,500 downloads, and positive feedback from users.

In addition to the apps, Smart and InnoPub also deploy interactive tourism markers that, when scanned or tapped with a phone, trigger the download of tourism and historical information about that certain place or structure. The interactive markers are currently installed in various heritage and tourist spots in Baguio, Cebu and Iloilo.

DOWNLOAD BAGUIO GUIDE

Baguio GuideGet a guide to Baguio City in your phone or tablet by downloading our free Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store. The app is a comprehensive guide to the Philippines’ summer capital, listing things to do and places to stay or go to. It also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers and DOT-accredited establishments.

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