Smart taps youth as ambassadors of local tourism via technology

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by SMART Public Affairs Jul 11, 2014

[10 July 2014] The Internet has provided netizens with a channel to promote their advocacies, express their views, or simply share their OOTDs (outfit of the day) or #ThrowbackThurday posts. Through social media and blogs, they have leveled up from merely being consumers of information to generators of original content. Many Filipinos, in particular, are making their presence felt in cyberspace.

dpsa-logo-year-7.jpg?sfvrsn=0The Internet has provided netizens with a channel to promote their advocacies, express their views, or simply share their OOTDs (outfit of the day) or #ThrowbackThurday posts. Through social media and blogs, they have leveled up from merely being consumers of information to generators of original content. Many Filipinos, in particular, are making their presence felt in cyberspace.

Philippine tourism, for one, is getting a boost from Internet savvy Pinoys. Our country, blessed with abundant natural wonders, is not difficult to sell as a tourist destination. As various interesting places in the country get more exposure online—thanks to Pinoys who love to post, like, share, and retweet—the Philippines is steadily regaining popularity as one of the top destinations in the world.

Wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is calling on all Filipinos, especially the youth, to use the Internet to promote hometown stories through Doon Po Sa Amin, its annual online competition for students. Now on its seventh year, the DPSA is the biggest annual online mapping activity in the country that aims to build an online map of the Philippines containing unique local stories embodying Filipino culture and heritage created by students.

“Being digital natives, using online and digital technologies is natural to the youth. While they are young, we want to make them see technology as a tool that can be used to contribute to the development of the society,” said Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto. "In the case of DPSA, what we want is to encourage them to generate and share their own content to instill love for one’s country, help promote their hometowns, and at the same time learn to use technology for learning."

Currently, more than a thousand stories about Philippine festivals, delicacies, history, destinations, and many more were submitted to DPSA. These stories may be viewed via the DPSA site at www.doonposaamin.ph. This July, as it opens its 7th run, more interesting stories are expected to populate DPSA’s online map. Submission of stories is until October 31, 2014.

"Smart is encouraging the youth to use the Internet, a channel available and accessible for all, to become effective ambassadors of the entire 7,107 islands that make up the country." Isberto added. Studies show that more than 70% of Internet users in the Philippines are from the youth sector. The growing mobile Internet usage is also bringing the channel into the hands of more people in the countryside.

Local tourism is getting a boost from wireless and Internet technologies as residents tweet and post about the unspoiled beaches, special delicacies, and interesting practices in their respective towns. Beyond the fine white sands of Boracay, chocolate hills in Bohol, or the underground river in Palawan, the world gets to discover the other less-famous but definitely worth visiting destinations in the country because of the Internet and social media.

Smart also has projects supporting digital tourism for specific localities. In partnership with InnoPub Media, Smart has launched mobile apps, Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled markers and electronic guidebooks for cities and municipalities in Cebu, Baguio and Ilolio.

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