The Department of Tourism (DOT), its attached agencies, and Smart Communications signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the provision of free Wi-Fi internet access in Intramuros and Rizal Park in Manila.

In partnership with the DOT’s Intramuros Administration (IA) and National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), Smart and its technology partner, InnoPub Media, will install Google Stations in the two tourist destinations to provide free Wi-Fi internet access in key public areas — Plaza Dilao, Casa Manila, Museo de Intramuros, Plaza Roma, Fort Santiago, and across Luneta.

In a press conference following the formal signing of the MOA, a representative of Smart said users may access the free  Wi-Fi internet service in 30-minute intervals but may reconnect again and again, essentially providing unlimited wireless internet access to its users.

In a message, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the provision of free Wi-Fi internet access in tourist hotspots encourages the natural promotion of Philippine tourism through social media.

Romulo-Puyat added that each of the 4.9 million mentions of #ItsMoreFuninthePhilippines in Instagram proves the importance of greater connectivity to tourists — aside from enhancing visitors’ experience through easy-accessibility of information.

“Through this, we hope they can be convinced to perhaps stay a little bit more.”

“Through this, we hope they can be convinced to perhaps stay a little bit more and truly enjoy the rest of our unique and wonderful country,” the tourism chief said.

Smart president and PLDT chief revenue officer Alfredo Panlilio said the rollout of these free Wi-Fi stations will not be limited to just Intramuros and Rizal Park, and is merely the “first in a series of projects.”

“This is merely the first in a series of projects.”

“We look forward to helping Secretary Puyat and the DOT in their tourism efforts across the country,” Panlilio said.

Aside from the provision of free Wi-Fi internet access, the Intramuros Administration mobile application was recently released to provide tourists with relevant information that would promote historical and cultural tourism.

Also to be released soon are interactive and augmented-reality tourism markers in partnership with IA, which will be accessible through the use of matrix barcodes (QR codes) and the near field communication (NFC) technology of mobile phones.

More than 400 Google Stations have been installed by Smart and InnoPub Media in heavy foot-traffic areas, such as airports, and other transportation hubs — bus stations and seaports, hospitals, and malls — throughout the country.

Launched in 2012 in Cebu, the digital tourism project was made possible through collaboration with the DOT, other national government units, local governments, and other stakeholders.

Aside from Puyat and Panlilio, IA Administrator, lawyer Guiller Asido; NPDC Executive Director Cecille Lorenzana-Romero; and PLDT Enterprise head Juan Victor Hernandez took part in the signing ceremony held at the Manila Hotel.


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