Tourists visiting Iloilo now have a handy guide to places to go and things to try as Philippine wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and new media startup InnoPub Media unveiled its digital tourism program in the province in partnership with local heritage advocates.

Special markers containing QR or quick response codes have been placed in select heritage and tourism areas in Iloilo. When scanned with a phone or tablet, the QR codes trigger the download of information about the tourism site.

To be able to download information, the gadget needs to be connected to the Internet and have a QR code scanner, which is widely available for downloading for free in the phone’s application market.

The program also includes a mobile guide to Iloilo, which contains a listing of places to go and things to try as well as important contact numbers. The guide can be accessed via phone scanning of special posters and standees at the airport, Iloilo City Gallery and various establishments.

INTERACTIVE MARKER. Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog scans the QR or quick response code on a sample Digital Tourism marker. The code triggers the download of more information about a tourism or heritage site or structure. (Photo by Smart Communications)

INTERACTIVE MARKER. Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog scans the QR or quick response code on a sample Digital Tourism marker. The code triggers the download of more information about a tourism or heritage site or structure. (Photo by Smart Communications)

The mobile guide, which will be turned into a downloadable e-book for phones, tablets and e-readers in the coming weeks, is produced in partnership with Cebu Pacific.

The program also includes a mobile website that allows tourists to view an interactive map of places to go based on their locations. To view suggested areas, tourists need to turn on their gadget’s global positioning system or GPS, open myguide.ph and enable location sharing.

“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 as 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, Smart.

“The digital tourism program ushers Iloilo City into the 21st century with its possibilities of digital technology. The power behind this is multi-institutional collaboration including government and private, individual and institutional interdisciplinary expertise,” said heritage advocate Eugene Jamerlan, a member of the team behind the program.

DIGITAL TOURISM. Department of Tourism 6 Director Helen Catalbas scans a Digital Tourism marker during the program's launch at the roof deck of the Iloilo City Hall. With her are InnoPub Media co-founders Marlen Limpag (left) and Max Limpag and Smart Communications Public Affairs senior manager for Visayas and Mindanao Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes (right). (Photo by Smart Communications)

DIGITAL TOURISM. Department of Tourism 6 Director Helen Catalbas scans a Digital Tourism marker during the program’s launch at the roof deck of the Iloilo City Hall. With her are InnoPub Media co-founders Marlen Limpag (left) and Max Limpag and Smart Communications Public Affairs senior manager for Visayas and Mindanao Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes (right). (Photo by Smart Communications)

“The QR code program delivers information in an instant, right there where you need it,” Jamerlan said.

The program was launched Thursday at the new Iloilo City Hall.

“Today’s technologies allow us to put a layer of information on real life that is accessible through mobile devices,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max 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, e-guide, and online map projects will start with Iloilo City and spread out to the rest of the province. QR codes and electronic guidebooks add to the visitor experience by providing them relevant information about Iloilo’s historical, cultural, and other attractions.

This Digital Tourism Project is a collaboration among the City and Provincial Governments of Iloilo, Smart Communications, Inc., InnoPub Media, and Iloilo private sector partners.

In December 2011, Smart and InnoPub founders started a digital tourism initiative in Cebu City which has later on expanded and recognized by the local government.

DIGITAL TOURISM TEAM. Members of the Digital Tourism team with Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog during the program's launch. (Photo by Smart Communications Inc.)

DIGITAL TOURISM TEAM. Members of the Digital Tourism team with Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog during the program’s launch. (Photo by Smart Communications Inc.)