(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine government is strengthening its promotion of the country’s local destination with its free virtual tours of Boracay, Palawan, and other destinations.

Under the so-called SmarTourism program, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) on Wednesday made its new virtual destination videos and 360° VR (virtual reality) experiential tours accessible on its page.

SmarTourism is one of the key strategic directions of TPB that aims to integrate innovation and digitalization by strengthening the country’s digital tourism platforms, ensuring data-driven planning, and expanding other tools for promotions and marketing.

“The most distinct driver of change that has happened in any industry is the massive shift towards digitalization and innovation. The virtual tours are a product of our drive to be better and do better amid the trying times,” TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones said.

“It’s not only a teaser for our foreign guests so they can get a good glimpse of our country in the new normal; it’s also a gift to our kababayans and OFWs who have been wanting to come home. And it’s a way to experience the Philippines vicariously and a guide to making every minute of your travel experience count,” she added.

The virtual destination videos are aligned with TPB’s global tourism campaign “It’s More Fun With You”, which seeks to invite tourists to look forward to and once again enjoy safe travel to the Philippines.

Other virtual videos launched include Baguio, Cordillera, Manila, Pampanga, Zambales, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Bohol, Cebu, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Guimaras, Davao, Batangas, Tarlac, Bataan, and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

TPB’s web-based 360°virtual reality tour, on the other hand, features the must-visit tourist spots and must-try activities in the Ilocos Region and Calabarzon. It can be accessed at www.tpb.pcitech.com.ph/map.

The TPB said this tour would serve as a marketing tool of the regions to the broader travel industry and allow travel agents to promote Philippine tourist destinations digitally, and at the same time, enhance and improve their destination knowledge.

“Technology plays an essential role in promoting destinations, attractions, and activities here in our country. By leveraging on it, we have found new opportunities amid the crisis and new ways to tell the world that the Philippines is alive and well, worthy to see and explore, and remains as beautiful and fun as ever,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

“We are proud that as we finally reopen to the world, we have this in store for all of you to experience,” she added.

The Philippines will accept fully vaccinated tourists from 157 visa-free countries, beginning February 10. (PNA)


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