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Santander tourism goes digital

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

The municipality of Santander said hello to the world as its own mobile tour guide is now available.

GOVERNOR HILARIO P. DAVIDE III believes that the new cell phone app on tourism in Santander will greatly boost that town’s economy and benefit the neighboring communities as well.  “Tourism is a key industry and an effective trigger to economic development,”  Davide said.

At least five of the town’s tourist spots were filled with mobile app markers during the official launching of Digital Tourism program in the town April 17. These are the municipal hall, church, belfry, watchtower, and Sanayon.

The Santander Guide is a mobile app that gives a handy guide to preview this small town of 17,000 population that’s located at the southernmost tip of Cebu Province.

“The Digital Tourism launch in Santander is part of a province-wide expansion of the tourism project pioneered in Cebu. Santander, as part of the BOSS:  Boljoon – Oslob – Santander – Samboan south Cebu tourism circuit, aims to be one with the conjoining municipalities who have done their launch of the same program,” said Santander Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao.

“I would like to thank the Cebu Provincial Government, the local tourism movers in our town and most especially Smart Communications, Inc. and InnoPub Media for helping us make this project possible,” Mayor Wenceslao said.

Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and new media startup InnoPub Media implemented the Digital Tourism program nationwide.

The Digital Tourism program pioneered in Cebu. Governor Davide adopted the program and launched it in Argao last year. The expansion started in Carcar City and continued in Samboan, Boljoon, and now Santander.

Bantayan and Camotes, two of the best known tourism spots in the province, are among the places which Governor Davide wants to also put up similar devices in.

The mobile app will make visitors’ travel to Santander convenient.

“We are happy to launch the latest destination under our nationwide program to use digital technology for tourism information. With Digital Tourism, information about Santander is now made more accessible through mobile devices,” said Max Limpag, InnoPub Media co-founder.

“Our digital tourism launch in Santander complements our grassroots support for communities in this area. Through digital technologies, digital tourism is not only making information accessible to local and foreign markets but it is also helping spur economic activity on ground,” said Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Public Affairs Group senior manager for Visayas and Mindanao at Smart.

_MG_7886Smart and InnoPub also put up interactive markers on the town’s heritage sites. “The markers contain quick response or QR codes and near-field communications (NFC) stickers that trigger the download of more information about a site or structure when scanned or tapped with a compatible device,” said Paredes.

The visitors can download Santander Guide to their Android phones. It also will be made available to iOS in weeks’ time.

The mobile app is a guide to “Santander spots and activities that include natural marvels like waterfalls, well-preserved underwater sites for snorkeling and diving, long coastlines for leisurely walks and sea and sunset viewing as well as man-made structures that showcase the town’s colorful past.”

It also provides well-researched information on “town’s history through its churches, watchtowers, and ruins.”

Santander is also a gateway to the adjacent islands of Negros, Siquijor, and Bohol. All the relevant information especially on the locations of these ports are included in the Santander Guide.

Paredes said Smart and Innopub are now thinking of putting up a system where foreign and local visitors can make online transaction. “Some tourists, especially the foreigners, are comfortable in making reservations and payment online. We might improve our program by making available these kinds of services in collaboration with our partners in the tourism industry,” she said.

The Digital Tourism program pioneered in Cebu. Governor Davide adopted the program and launched it in Argao last year. The expansion started in Carcar City and continued in Samboan, Boljoon, and now Santander.

Bantayan and Camotes, two of the best known tourism spots in the province, are among the places which Governor Davide wants to also put up similar devices in.

The tourism officers of Bogo City and Sogod were also present during the launching in Santander.

Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino said some towns in the north will also get their mobile app next.

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