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Sorsogon tourism officers get training on digital tourism program

by Smart Communications | Oct 12, 2018
Smart Communications, in partnership with technology startup InnoPub Media, held a training for tourism officers on the program’s two components, which include a mobile app as travel guide, and interactive markers for heritage sites.
Sorsogon hosts a large number of interesting places and experiences but some challenges keep tourism from taking off in the province.

Limited transport services, narrow roads, few accredited tour guides, and key logistical concerns were just some of the problems identified by tourism officers from the different towns during the recent Sorsogon Provincial Strategic Tourism Development Planning Workshop.

As one step towards the implementation of digital tourism in the province, Smart Communications, in partnership with technology startup InnoPub Media, held a training for tourism officers on the program’s two components, which include a mobile app as travel guide, and interactive markers for heritage sites. 

The training session is part of Smart’s recently sealed partnership with Sorsogon, which includes the creation of the So Sorsogon travel guide app and the roll-out of Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced across the province. The “So Sorsogon” travel guide app will be unveiled during the province’s Kasanggayahan Festival this October.

Sorsogon partnerships

Sorsogon provincial tourism officer Bobby Gigantone said the province is grateful for the assistance provided by partners like Smart.

He said Smart’s help through the digital tourism program goes a long way towards helping Sorsogon achieve its tourism goals.

During the training, Smart’s Luzon marketing head, Richard Mathew Dimagiba, provided important inputs for Sorsogon’s tourism workers. Noting the influx of young tourists, he said the province should consider non-traditional communication channels to promote Sorsogon’s emerging destinations. 

He added that all towns play an important role in the tourism journey—if not as tourist spots, as key providers of logistics support in the form of manpower or products.

Mobile app elements

InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag, meanwhile, gave an overview of the So Sorsogon mobile app guide’s different elements. He said the app will carry chapters on the places to visit, experiences to try, getting around, and other pertinent information on travel in Sorsogon.

He told tourism officers that the app is offline-capable, so visitors will still be able to use it even if they don’t have Internet connectivity. Visitors can also leave feedback through the app, which also allows the province to inform tourists of new tourism products long after they’ve left through push notifications.

Part of the training also involved getting inputs from the different tourism officers of Sorsogon.

Managing visitors

Desiree Abitria, Donsol tourism officer, said the mobile app will help them regulate and manage visitors who come for the whale shark interaction.

Tourists currently need to show up and register with the tourism office for the limited number of boats allowed out to sea for whale shark watching in Donsol.

Abitria added they can ask tourists to book ahead with the mobile app so they can be given a sure schedule, thereby lessening the number of those that have to be turned away once the maximum limit of visitors is reached.

In partnership with various government units, the digital tourism program of Smart and InnoPub is a nationwide initiative that harnesses technology to deliver important tourism, cultural, and heritage information to more mobile users. The program was launched in 2011 and has since been implemented in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Metro Manila, among other areas. It involves the creation of tourism apps and e-guides, and the installation of interactive markers in selected landmarks to trigger the download of more information.