Visitors now have a handy guide to places and activities of interest in Argao with the unveiling Friday of a digital tourism initiative in the town, the first stop of a province-wide implementation of the program in Cebu.
The program is a collaboration among the Argao Municipal Government, Cebu Provincial Government, Smart Communications, Inc., InnoPub Media and other government and private sector partners.
Well-preserved Spanish and American period structures and other important buildings in the town now carry special markers containing QR or quick response codes that provide more information about the sites when scanned with a phone or tablet.
To be able to download information, the gadget needs to be connected to the Internet and have a QR code scanner, which can be downloaded for free in the phone’s application market.
Some of the markers contain NFC tags that allow people to download information by merely placing their NFC-enabled phones near the marker.
Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III said he believes in highlighting Cebu’s heritage and traditions and the digital tourism project is a perfect tool to do just that. “It makes historical and cultural information interactive,” said Davide.
“Tourism is a fiercely competitive market, requiring talent, skills, enterprise and a strong public-private support network like what we are seeing here in this initiative,”Davide said.
“The Municipality of Argao takes pride as we, once again, take another leap into the promotion of our rich cultural heritage and our most symbolic landmarks through the Argao Digital Tourism Project,” said Argao Mayor Edsel A. Galeos.
“In behalf of the Argaowanon community, I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the people, institution and organizations that chose our beloved town for the launch of this province-wide endeavor,” Galeos said.
The program also includes a web-based and Android mobile application guide to the town, which contains a listing of places to go and things to try as well as important contact numbers.
The web-based guide can be accessed via phone scanning of special streamers and standees that will be placed in strategic areas in Argao or by entering argao.myguide.ph in the mobile phone browser. The application version has to be downloaded from the Google Play Store at this link.
“Smart has been a strong supporter of digital tourism as we believe that mobile technologies can play a role in enabling communities. Aside from promoting tourism, this has a big potential in spurring local economies and helping preserve and promote heritage and culture. We’re excited and proud to be part of this socially innovative collaboration,” said Ramon R. Isberto, Public Affairs group head, Smart.
An interactive map that allows tourists to view town attractions based on their locations is included in the web-based guide and its mobile app version.The map feature works with the mobile gadget’s global positioning system or GPS.
“Today’s technologies allow us to put a layer of information on real life that is accessible through devices that we always carry around with us – our phones,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max T. Limpag, “This digital tourism project showcases that and harnesses its power to support a key sector of our country’s economy – tourism.”
The QR code, web guide, and mobile app projects will start with Argao and spread out to the rest of CebuProvince. QR codes and mobile guides add to the total visitor experience since they provide relevant information about the destination and make the journey easier for tourists.