Samboan launches mobile app to boost local tourism

With numerous waterfalls in Samboan’s forested hills, no doubt a journey to this southern Cebu town begins and ends with a splash. Water abounds in Samboan, and it’s something one can not only drink but experience.

It’s on these flowing waters – from loud, shallow currents to inviting hushed cascades – that Samboan’s strength as a travel destination rests, and a mobile app now provides a handy guide to all these sites and other top town attractions.

Samboan launched on Tuesday Samboan Guide, a mobile application for Android devices that can now be downloaded at the Google Play Store. The mobile guide is a component of the Digital Tourism program being implemented nationwide by wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and new media startup InnoPub Media.

“With the digital tourism, Samboan will now be connected to the world: its destinations, accommodations and services. We are very hopeful that tourists will soon be coming in, whether local or foreign,” expressed Samboan mayor Raymond Joseph Calderon.

Governor Hilario Davide III lauded Samboan, SMART, and Innopub on their efforts in working together to further Digital Tourism in Cebu.

“Through cooperation and hard work, together, we can enter into a new age of tourism, prosperity and growth”, he said.

Complementing Samboan’s natural wonders are heritage structures that can magically transport visitors to colonial times. As one of Cebu’s oldest settlement grounds, Samboan plays host to various heritage sites echoing its glorious past.

To provide visitors more information about Samboan’s rich historical heritage, interactive tourism markers were also deployed in the town center. The markers contain a quick response or QR codes and near-field communications or NFC stickers that, when scanned or tapped with a compatible device, trigger the download of more information about a site or structure.

In Samboan, the markers can be found on the ancient stone structures Escala de Jacob, Campanario de Antigua, and St. Michael Archangel Church as well as the Museo de Samboan and Municipal Hall.

The town center is perched atop hill and forms a landscape that offers a panoramic view of the Tañon Strait and neighboring islands like Negros.

Lawyer Jane Paredes, communications head for Visayas and Mindanao of Smart, assured app users of Samboan Guide’s constant update.

“The app is not static. When new information about Samboan comes or a new tourist spot is discovered, we will update the app and add the new information,” she said.

InnoPub co-founder Max Limpag shared that preparation for Samboan’s Digital Tourism launch took a year due to extensive data gathering conducted in coordination with the local government.

“What’s important is we can deliver correct information to our users. To achieve this, coordination with LGU’s tourism and historical office is needed,” he said.

The Digital Tourism launch in Samboan is part of a province-wide expansion of the tourism project pioneered in Cebu. The Cebu Province component was launched in Argao last year by Governor Davide.

The Digital Tourism program was recognized by the Cebu City Council in a resolution passed on mass motion last January 2012 as an “ingenious” way of delivering information. Last February, the program was recognized with an Anvil Award of Merit during the 49th Anvil Awards held at the Solaire Resort and Casino in February, 2014.