MANILA -- A new app has been made to provide the latest travel advisories and safety guidelines in various Philippine destinations that have reopened to tourism amid the pandemic.
Called Travel Philippines, the app was launched in a virtual briefing on Friday by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its attached agency, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), in partnership with inclusion tech venture builder HIMO Global Inc.
Described as a "progressive web app," it has been designed to run in all types of devices and internet browsers, and can also be used offline.
The platform features not just up-to-date information about different destinations, but also allows users to create itineraries for future trips, and secure digital copies of their travel documents.
"As we continue to reopen the country's tourism destinations, Travel Philippines timely serves as every tourist's official guide to safe and fun travel," said DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
"With the ever-changing needs and challenges in travel brought about by the pandemic, Travel Philippines will help both domestic and international tourists have safer and more memorable travel experiences amid our 'new normal,'" she added.
Travel Philippines so far features six local tourist destinations: Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, and Metro Manila. DOT-accredited accommodations and restaurants can also be seen in the app.
HIMO Global Inc. president Winston Damarillo said the platform will be regularly updated as more parts of the Philippines reopen to tourism.
He added that health and safety protocols will be sourced directly from local tourism offices.
When asked about possible security concerns over uploading documents and IDs into the app, Damarillo assured: "All the data that you put in the app actually resides only on your phone. Hindi siya naka-store sa server na maha-hack anywhere else. And that data can only be transmitted when you want to transmit it. So 'yung user ang may control sa ating personal information."
"We built this app for government use and for citizens to have trust," added Damarillo, the CEO of Talino Venture Labs which also created the government-endorsed contact tracing app SafePass.
Atty. Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, TPB's chief operating officer, said the project had a total cost of P20 million.
Bulk of the funding or P14 million was put in by HIMO Global Inc. as a result of the partnership, while the remaining P6 million was from TPB.