Instagram-ready. Tourists now are more concerned about connectivity more than anything else when they go on a trip. This is a new reality that tourism officials are now trying to address as the Department of Tourism (DOT) partners with PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) to provide free Wi-Fi through Google Stations in Intramuros and Luneta (Rizal Park).
“Tourism is an important driver of economic growth and we are excited for this project which aims to provide enhanced connectivity and access to tourism information for more mobile users,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Smart has signed an agreement with the Intramuros Administration (IA) and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) to boost tourism in Manila by rolling out free Wi-Fi services via Google Station in key public areas inside the Walled City and Rizal Park.
“This is an important project in our efforts to push the internet for all,” said Al Panlilio, president, Smart.
Under the agreement, Smart will deploy free Wi-Fi connectivity from Google Station at the Plaza Dilao, Casa Manila, Museo de Intramuros, Plaza Roma, and Fort Santiago, as well as across Luneta.
Tourists just need to register and login every 30 minutes to continuously use the free Wi-Fi services from Smart.
Smart and longtime technology partner InnoPub Media are also working with the IA in rolling out interactive tourism markers powered by QR codes and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology as part of its nationwide Digital Tourism Program. The markers and the newly released Intramuros Administration mobile application aim to promote historical and cultural tourism by providing tourists relevant information using one of the most important travel tools of today—the smartphone.
Once up, these venues will join the growing list of the more than 400 Google Station venues around the country announced by Smart and Google Philippines earlier this year.
Google Station is also available in other heavy foot-traffic areas such as airports and other transportation hubs like bus stations and seaports, hospitals, and malls across the country.
The digital tourism program is a project of Smart and InnoPub Media in collaboration with various stakeholders such as DOT, NCCA, local government units, tourism offices, and dioceses. Launched in 2012 in Cebu, it has been implemented in Antique, Baguio City, Bicol Region, Davao and Metro Manila, among other areas.