[Editor's note: Will free wi-fi boost tourism in Manila? Below is the press release from Smart Communications.]
MANILA, Philippines – PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has signed an agreement with the Intramuros Administration (IA) and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) to boost tourism in the City of Manila by rolling out free wi-fi services via Google Station in key public areas inside the Walled City and Rizal Park.
Smart and its technology partner InnoPub Media are also working with the Intramuros Administration to roll out interactive tourism markers powered by QR codes and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology as part of its nationwide Digital Tourism Program. The markers and the newly released Intramuros Administration mobile application aim to promote historical and cultural tourism by providing tourists relevant information using one of the most important travel tools of today – the smartphone.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart president Alfredo S. Panlilio, and PLDT Enterprise head Juan Victor I. Hernandez graced the signing ceremonies recently held at the Manila Hotel. Also at the ceremonies were IA administrator Atty Guiller B. Asido and NPDC Executive Director Cecille Lorenzana-Romero.
Under the agreement, Smart will deploy fast, free and open wi-fi connectivity via Google Station at the Plaza Dilao, Casa Manila, Museo de Intramuros, Plaza Roma, and Fort Santiago, as well as across Rizal Park.
“We are happy to partner with government to further enhance its ability to deliver quality services for the Filipino people through connectivity, and to contribute to efforts in preserving history and making historical information more accessible to everyone,” said Panlilio.
“This partnership with the Department of Tourism, Intramuros Administration and the National Parks Development Committee is a testament to PLDT-Smart’s commitment to boosting the Philippine tourism industry,” said Hernandez. “We look forward to helping Secretary Puyat and the DOT in their tourism efforts across the country.”
“Connectivity is vital to enhancing the tourist experience. With high quality connectivity,
tourists are easily able to share to the world the sights and sounds of our country, keep in touch with their loved ones abroad, and learn more about our historical and heritage sites by downloading information through our interactive digital markers,” he added.
Once up, these venues will join the growing list of the more than 400 Google Station venues around the country announced by Smart and Google Philippines earlier this year. Google Station is also available in other heavy foot-traffic areas such as airports and other transportation hubs like bus stations and seaports, hospitals, and malls across the country.
The digital tourism program is a project of Smart and InnoPub Media in collaboration with various stakeholders such as DOT, NCCA, local government units, tourism offices, and dioceses. Launched in 2012 in Cebu, it has been implemented in Antique, Baguio City, Bicol Region, Davao, and Metro Manila, among other areas.
The nationwide rollout of Google Station complements Smart’s ongoing network expansion and modernization program across the Philippines.
For 2019, PLDT capex is expected to reach P78.4 billion, including allocations for the expansion of PLDT’s fiber broadband service, which also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations. – Rappler.com