Article from The Philippine Star (Catherine Talavera)
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is hoping to lure young tourists to visit historical sites across the country using augmented reality technology.
The DOT recently partnered with innovative education institution iAcademy for the rollout of AR technology in the walled city of Intramuros.
“We’re starting with Intramuros, but I also want to do Corregidor. I also want Mt. Samat and all the other historical sites in the country, but let’s start with Manila,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
iAcademy students created an AR app called ‘ImagineNation’ that features some of the iconic architectures in the Philippines such as the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
“Intramuros Administration is working with iAcademy and we will make all the historical sites in Intramuros available with any DOT logo or sign so that when they use their phone, they can use the AR technology,” Puyat said.
iAcademy chief operating officer Racquel Wong said the company expects to roll out the AR technology feature within the next month.
“What we’re working with IA is when you stand on a certain a spot and there’s a particular sticker on a certain signage, it gives you an experience of what it was before,” Wong said.
Puyat said that the installation of the AR features would encourage more young people to visit the country’s historical sites such as Intramuros.
“You can go around, use your phone, and see intramuros. For example, if it’s a ruins, you can see how it was before,” Puyat said.
“So it’s interactive. You have to always look for new ways to attract the youth, even the older people so that historical sites are now more fun, not only educational, but also fun,” Puyat said.
Puyat and Wong signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the partnership between the DOT and iAcademy.
“Through this partnership with iAcademy, a pioneer in innovative education, the DOT will change the way the world perceives our tourism promotions efforts,” Puyat said.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has emphasized the importance of technology and innovation in tourism, in line with making the sector more sustainable.
“We need to continue investing in innovation, digital transformation and education so that we can harness the many benefits tourism can bring, while at the same time mitigating its impact on the environment and society with a better management of tourism flows,” the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.