MANILA – Department of Information and Communications Technology (DITC) Secretary Ivan John Uy on Tuesday said they are looking to improve internet connectivity in 94 identified tourist destinations in the country before the end of this year.
He said this will be done through the activation or deployment of the needed internet infrastructure which will boost connectivity in these destinations.
Uy, in a Palace briefing, said the deployment of the needed internet infrastructure for the initial 46 tourist destinations will be completed by the next quarter.
“In a matter of a few months, we have already put into the program for the first phase, we will be able to deploy 46 out of the 94 destinations that will be lightened with free internet connectivity,” he added.
Uy said the first phase will cover major tourism sites which include Baguio, Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu, among others.
Meanwhile, the remaining 48 tourist destinations will “most likely” have better internet connectivity by the end of the year to achieve “full 100 percent coverage”.
“This is a joint initiative with the DICT in order to ensure that our tourists will have a complete experience in the tourism areas,” he said.
Uy said boosting connectivity in tourist spots will be a good strategy to market the Philippines as a tourist destination, considering that many tourists are also “vloggers.”
“Many of the tourists now are also vloggers. They vlog about their experience while they are there experiencing or enjoying the tourism sites so it is critical that we provide them with internet connectivity. So while they’re there, enjoying those experiences, they can actually be also our marketing tool in propagating the message to them how they’re having fun in the Philippines and how they are enjoying the Philippine experience,” he said.
“The DICT’s role here is to really support the Department of Tourism (DOT) in its effort in establishing the Philippines as one of the primary tourist destinations around the world,” Uy added.
In December 2022, the DICT and DOT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to digitalize tourism services across the country and improve internet connectivity in 94 identified destinations.
Aside from the tourist magnets Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Siargao, the DOT would focus on emerging and lesser-known destinations.
The partnership is part of DOT’s goal to fully digitalize tourist transactions and integrate them into one system to further attract tourists, both foreign and local, to tour around the country seamlessly.
Among the transactions the DOT is looking to modernize is the selling of tickets in seaports, citing the difficulty in obtaining one when purchasing online.
Under the MOU, the DICT is tasked to increase the bandwidth and reliability for destinations that have internet access and tap satellite technology in the case of remote areas.
In the same briefing, Uy said the DICT will cooperate with the DOT, Bureau of Immigration, and the Department of Foreign Affairs for the deployment of an e-visa system.
He said the government is planning to tap private sector partners that have “proven capacity” in handing e-visa services to ensure a “seamless experience” for tourists.
“This is just an initial stage and we will continue to look for ways in improving the digitalization of our infrastructure as well as our connectivity to support all our different departments of the government,” Uy said. (PNA)