Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Travel Guide Made Easy with Smart-Powered KulTOURa Mobile App

Gone are the days when one had to bring bulky, hard-to-fold-back-again maps and heavy travel guide books each time we go around Philippine tourist spots. The good news is that a new mobile app replaces these maps, complete with historical information in a do-it-yourself style of tour guiding, right at your finger tips.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in collaboration with PLDT wireless subsidiary of Smart Communications and InnoPub Media, launched today the KulToura Philippine Travel Guide Application, which 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.

Using your mobile phone or tablet, the app can be downloaded for free, available for Android and iOS devices.  It is continuously being updated to provide more relevant content in order to 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.

The KulToura 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 KultToura 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.”

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.

Images by Monch Henares.