MANILA – The government moves to digitalize tourism services across the country and improve internet connectivity in 94 identified destinations with a newly-signed deal between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
 
"Most of these destinations already have an internet, it's a matter of improving the quality of the internet in the area and (the DICT) would be very helpful in doing that considering that they have the technology," Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said Tuesday during the signing  of memorandum of  understanding with DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy.
 
Aside from the tourist-magnets Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Siargao, the DOT would focus on emerging and lesser-known destinations.
 
Frasco said 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. 
 
“Our push for digitalization and connectivity will allow Philippine tourism to finally take a primary role in the ASEAN and the globe. This will propel us to even greater numbers than we have already achieved thus far,” she said, referring to the latest Philippine tourism figures which already surpassed the targeted 1.7 million arrivals.
 
"This itself fulfills another objective under the Marcos administration for tourism and that is to equalize tourism promotion and development because not only will it give opportunities for key destinations to continue to open for development, but also allow even the most far-flung tourist destinations and local government units opportunities to be heralded to the world as a viable tourism destination,” she added. 
 
Under the MOU, Uy said the DICT would increase the bandwidth and reliability for destinations that have internet access and tap satellite technology in the case of remote areas.
 
Meanwhile, he praised Frasco for the interventions she made for the tourism sector in the past months.
 
"Some are really just common sense but took some time to implement for others but for her, political will was there and she's able to deliver it very, very quickly and directly. And to many and others, it’s out-of-the-box thinking using imagination, using creativity in order to be able to introduce all of these wonderful interventions in our tourism sector," he said.
 
“From the DICT perspective, we want to help all of the departments, all of the departments to be utilized, get the services out in a more effective, more efficient, less redundant manner,” he added. (PNA)