MANILA — Government will provide free internet in 94 major travel destinations that have connectivity issues, as it plans to make the country a tourism hub, the Department of Information and Communications Technology said on Tuesday.
The first phase of the plan will cover 46 tourist sites, which could get free internet by the third quarter of the year, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said.
These will include areas in Baguio, Palawan, Boracay, Cebu and several other tourism destinations identified as "priority", he said.
"[This project is meant] to ensure that our tourists will have complete experience in tourism areas. As you very well know, many tourists now are vloggers," Uy told Palace reporters.
"They vlog about their experience while they are experiencing or enjoying the tourism sites so it is critical that we provide them with the internet connectivity while they are there enjoying the experience," he added.
Tourists' vlogs can also serve as a marketing tool "in propagating the message to them — how they are having fun in the Philippines," Uy said.
The DICT will also help the Philippines’ consular service through the deployment of an e-visa system, the official said.
“We are also cooperating with all these agencies and looking at private partners in order to provide these platforms in order to deploy the e-visa system,” Uy said.
The DICT is looking to work with private companies that have “proven capacity in handling that and integrate them with our platform in the e-visa so that we have a seamless experience,” he said.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the project was initiated after the government found that visa issuance was the “biggest challenge” for tourists from large markets like China and India.
“The biggest challenge they face is we require visas for them to come to the country,” she said. “The capacity of the consular services are very limited."
Video from RTVM