Iloilo goes ‘digital tourism’

If one is equipped with an android or smart phone, travelling in Iloilo is seen to become easier because relevant information about the place’s historical, cultural and other attractions will now be contained in QR code markers installed in every site.
This innovation is part of the Digital Tourism project initiated by Smart Telecommunications and new media startup InnoPub Media in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Iloilo City and Provincial governments and the private sector.
“QR means Quick Response, a mobile approach that was designed by a subsidiary of Toyota for the purpose of car inventory. This is widely used abroad for marketing purposes,” said Max Limpag, InnoPub Media co-founder, during the project’s launching last March 21.
“We are now using technology to deliver Iloilo tourism and provide heritage information. Unless you know more about a place that you visit, the experience is incomplete,” he said.
Initially, these landmarks with QR code markers are Iloilo City Gallery at the Iloilo City Hall, Plaza Libertad, Molo Church, Casa Rizaliana and the Camina Balay nga Bato. More markers will be gradually put up in other tourist attractions.
Limpag said first thing one has to do is download the app for free from a QR code scanner site and install it in the phone. He suggested Once the phone focuses on or scans the QR code, the information about the place will automatically show on the phone.
He demonstrated this by scanning the Digital Tourism project’s QR code and it opened a quick guide to Iloilo.
The interactive guide also includes tips for making the most of one’s stay, must-visit attractions, must-try delicacies, do-it-yourself tours and useful contact information.
Eugene Jamerlan of the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council said the information on every landmark was derived from the Center for Western Visayas studies, books, and even international sources like the University of California that has a vast Filipiniana collection.
Meanwhile, a tour guide raised a concern about their usefulness now that information is readily made available through the QR codes.
“Tour guides can use this as a tool. It will not compete with you, but rather, complement you,” Jamerlan said.
“Also, we are going to start an e-book with information not only of hotels, events, churches and festivals but of tour guides,” Jamerlan assured.
He added, they will also have an online map project.
The QR codes, e-guide and online map projects will start with Iloilo City and spread out to the rest of the province, including Guimaras, he said.

“Applications using location-based services and scanning technologies are becoming more popular as more devices are coming equipped with these features. We’re excited to work with our partners in building this local tourism project for Iloilo City. We see this is a good model that can be adopted in other cities rich in heritage and culture,” said Nick Wilwayco, manager, Corporate Communications and Social Innovation, Public Affairs Group of Smart.* (Marie Katherine Villalon)

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