Tourists headed to Baguio can now use their mobile phones as guide to the country’s summer capital with the launch of ?Digital Tourism? in the city.
Digital Tourism is a nationwide program that harnesses mobile technology to deliver tourism, cultural, and historical information, being spearheaded by Smart Communications and Cebu-based new media start-up InnoPub Media.
Newly installed site markers containing QR or quick response codes and NFC (near-field communications) stickers have been deployed in select areas within the city. The markers trigger the download of tourism and historical information via phone scanning or tapping.
Smart and InnoPub have been collaborating with the local government unit led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan for the implementation of the program.
To download information via QR code scanning, tourists need to be connected to the Internet and must have a QR reader app on their phones. QR code apps can be downloaded for free from phone application markets.
To download information via NFC tapping, tourists need to be connected to the Internet and must have an NFC-capable device. Newer Android devices have NFC support.
InnoPub and Smart have also made available Baguio Guide to help tourists make the most of their visit. Baguio Guide can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and Windows Phone Store. It also has a mobile Web version.
The guide contains information about Baguio, where to go and things to do when in the summer capital. It also has a listing of where to eat and shop for pasalubong. The guide also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers like that of police and emergency units.
Baguio Guide also has a listing of hotels, pension houses, tour operators and tour guides accredited by the Department of Tourism. The phone numbers on the listings are active and people need only to tap them to initiate the call.
Places featured in the Baguio Guide app also contain a ?check location? link that, when pressed, uses the phone’s GPS system to show tourists where the place is and provide theme a suggested route there.
?Baguio City is the first digital tourism program we?ve launched in Luzon. We?re happy to partner with the Baguio local government in promoting tourism using digital technologies especially with the increasing number of smartphone and data usage in the country.? said Ramon R. Isberto, public affairs group head at Smart.
?People, especially tourists, always bring their smartphones or tablets with them wherever they go. What better way to provide important tourism, cultural and historical information than through these devices?? said Max Limpag, co-founder of InnoPub Media.
The digital tourism program was first piloted by Smart and InnoPub in Cebu in 2012 but is now being implemented nationally. The program was recently recognized with an Anvil Award of Merit.