Smart, InnoPub unveil expanded Iloilo digital tourism program

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The initiative includes the release of the Iloilo Guide app and the installation of interactive markers at selected tourist destinations throughout the province.

With the help of mobile technology, residents and travelers to Iloilo can now discover the region’s rich heritage and new destinations right at their fingertips.

Iloilo unveiled its expanded digital tourism program during the 117th Semana sang Iloilo, the provincial government’s foundation anniversary celebration. With the support of PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and InnoPub Media, the program is expected to boost tourism in the province.

The digital tourism program includes the creation of tourism apps and e-guides, and the installation of interactive markers at selected landmarks to trigger the download of more information. First launched in 2013 in Iloilo City, the program has been updated to cover the entire province.

Unveiled during the launch was the Iloilo Guide app, a mobile guide that features information useful to visitors and students, such as historical background, local folklore and other interesting cultural trivia. It also lists things to do and places to see.

Those seeking a summer getaway, for instance, may be blessed with clear aquamarine waters, lush greens, marvelous rock formations, and stretches of white sand by going to Islas de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo. Design and history enthusiasts, for their part, may visit the San Joaquin church to view its exquisite depiction of the Rendicion de Tetuan or the 1859 Spanish victory over Moroccan forces in Tetuan, Africa, in bas relief on the structure’s pediment.

These information, and more, may be found on the Iloilo Guide app, which is available as a free download for Android devices, and soon on iOS.

“We welcome this partnership with Smart and InnoPub, which will help boost tourism in Iloilo. As Boracay will be closed starting this month, tourists will be seeking other destinations,” Provincial Administrator Raul Banias said during the launch. “We hope this program will help us convince more visitors to stay here,” he said.

“We are happy to partner with the Province of Iloilo and Innopub to make the region’s rich history, culture and heritage available to a wider audience. Now, more than ever, we can enhance travel experiences, enable education, and preserve Filipino culture via mobile technology and connectivity,” said Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Attorney Maria Jane Paredes.

It is important to make information about travel destinations accessible to more people, according to Region VI tourism officer Sedfrey Cabaluna. “We have wonderful places in the Philippines, but more than that, it’s the stories behind them which make them even more beautiful,” he pointed out during the launch.

The digital tourism program also includes the installation of markers with quick response (QR) codes and near field communication (NFC) chips in popular tourist spots and heritage sites in Iloilo. Through an NFC chip or QR code reader, mobile users will get on their phones detailed information about the said landmark.

In partnership with the government, the Digital Tourism program of Smart and InnoPub is a nationwide initiative that harnesses technology to deliver tourism, cultural, and historical information to more mobile users. The program was launched in 2012 and has since been implemented in Cebu, Davao, Baguio City, and Metro Manila, among other areas.