Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NCCA, DOT Launch KulTOURa Mobile Travel Guide

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There is a new mobile app that can help tourists enjoy their stay in the country by giving them a better appreciation of Philippine culture and history. As a bonus, it’s great for students too.

This is the Kultoura Philippine travel guide app which the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched today in collaboration with PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications and InnoPub Media.

Representatives from Smart, NCCA, DOT and InnoPub sign the memorandum of agreement for the KulTOURa app at Rizal Park Visitors Center.

The Kultoura app features information on heritage sites, historic schools and churches, nature parks, popular attractions, famous landmarks and other must-see places in various parts of the country. The app also contains colorful details of the history of selected cities and provinces, including their famous personalities, delicacies and other interesting trivia.

Available as a free download for Android and iOS devices, the app is continuously being updated to provide more relevant content and encourage travelers to explore the country. It will soon offer other services such as a chat bot, which can give automated travel advice; allow users to take virtual tours; and enable purchases via a digital marketplace.

Though initially designed as an aid for tourists, the mobile app is also a handy resource for students. The comprehensive information found on the app can help them gain a better understanding of the rich culture and history of the country.

The launch of the Kultoura app was held at Rizal Park to commemorate the 156th birthday of National Hero Jose Rizal. Leading the launch were Smart AVP/Head of Community Engagement and Partnerships Gabby R. Cui, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon R. Isberto, NCCA Chairman Virgilio Almario, National Parks Development Committee Executive Director Penelope Belmonte, DOT Undersecretary for Oversight Function for Legislative Matters Falconi Millar, and InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag.

“The Kultoura app was developed to help tourists and students learn more about Philippine culture and heritage. It may also be useful to foreigners who are interested in the rich history and beautiful destinations in our country,” said NCCA Chairman Virgilio Almario.

“We want to help travelers really enjoy and experience the Philippines by seeing for themselves the rich culture and heritage of our people,” said PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon R. Isberto. “Innovations such as the Kultoura app are part of Smart’s efforts to enable foreign and local tourists to travel like never before.”

To enhance the tourist experience, Smart will also provide high-speed Wi-Fi and install quick response (QR) codes and NFC (near-field communications) chips on markers in selected areas to enable access to additional travel information via phone scan.

The Kultoura app, the tourist markers and the provision for high-speed connectivity are part of the Digital Tourism program, which was launched by InnoPub and Smart in 2012 in partnership with local government units. The Digital Tourism program aims to harness mobile technology to promote tourism and the preservation of cultural and heritage sites. It has been implemented in destinations such as Baguio, Bohol, Albay, Dapitan, and Davao.

“Our mobile phones are our constant travel companion. It serves as our messaging device, camera, map, and tour guide. With the Digital Tourism program, important historical, cultural and heritage information are now more widely available to tourists through mobile devices,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag. “The Kultoura app and markers contain information directly sourced from the NCCA. It is a comprehensive effort among partners to make Philippine history and culture interactive.”

The deployment of high-speed Wi-Fi at tourist hubs, meanwhile, complements Smart’s continued LTE rollout. It is available at airports, seaports, and transportation terminals all over the country, as well as in hangout places such as food parks, providing even more connectivity to mobile users on-the-go.

In cooperation with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Smart recently launched carrier-grade Wi-Fi service at MRT stations and along EDSA to benefit the commuters traveling across the country’s busiest highway.

Present during the launch were NCCA Chairman Virgilio Almario, DOT Undersecretary for Oversight Function for Legislative Matters Falconi Millar, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon R. Isberto, Smart AVP/Head of Community Engagement and Partnerships Gabby R. Cui, InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag, and representatives from the National Parks Development Committee and the six attached cultural agencies.

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