Digital technology boosting tourism — PIDS
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Greater digitization in the use of emerging technologies has been giving key tourism areas a boost in operations and can open up more opportunities for the sector, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said.

The state-run think tank recently held a regional forum in Tagbilaran City titled, “Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Creating Central Visayas’ Future Today.”

During the forum, regional chambers of commerce said the digital age has created huge opportunities for those in the tourism business to expand their markets, enhance customer satisfaction and improve their services.

Citing the talking points of Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) vice president Marietta Gasatan, PIDS said the digitization of business processes using online platforms has dramatically changed the way business was done in the province compared with 15 years ago.

Tourism businesses in Bohol were the first ones to use online platforms to book guest flight and hotel reservations in Central Visayas.

PIDS noted, however, that while greater use of emerging technologies benefit the sector, these must be used with caution, adapting only those needed by the industry and the community so as not to adversely affect the culture and heritage of regions.

Businesses should also be aware about how their older customers would adapt to the use of these technologies.

PIDS noted that it is unrealistic to get 100 percent acceptance of new technologies across all generations. While those born between 1981 and 2014 would be quick to adapt, boomers and Gen Xers would be slower, it said.

Because of this, it is important to have younger generations work with tourism bodies in enabling higher technology takeup.

PIDS also noted that while most of the services and experiences enjoyed in tourism may be sustained and improved by greater use of technology, some components must retain personal touch.

Speakers during the forum maintained that the pace of adoption of technology in the sector is also dependent on the drive of the government to bring innovation top far-flung areas.

PIDS cited the establishment of a fabrication laboratory in Bohol Island State University to improve the competitiveness of Bohol’s creative sector. This laboratory enables the transformation of design ideas into physical forms.

With this initiative, the government could link the laboratory to industries, it noted.

The regional forum is part of a series of awareness-raising activities, policy dialogues, and seminars initiated by the PIDS to promote deep and broad-based understanding of the socioeconomic implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FiRe).

The event served as a venue where the government, business sector, and civil society of Central Visayas discussed the prospects of the region in the era of FIRe and how it can take advantage of emerging technologies to further develop its economic potential.

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