Technology Driving Philippines Tourism


PLANES, trains and automobiles. These may be some of the most common ways to get around. It’s also the title of a classic comedy-adventure movie riddled with slapstick problems and travel mishaps that no longer plague travelers of the new age.

Nowadays, technology lets you take whatever adventure you want whenever and wherever you please with just a few clicks. As the Internet becomes a large, diverse web of booking sites, travel blogs and vacation guides, wandering the globe becomes more feasible and accessible—making tourism less tangled and more connected.

Sites for sights

Every trip begins with the questions: “How do we get there?” or “Where will we stay?”

Convenience is a big key in bringing in tourists, because what good is a fun trip if you’re hassled by flight troubles and lodging woes?

One of the biggest drivers in steering tourism to the Philippines have been the rise of online booking sites.

Both Filipino and foreign tourists alike have been able to conveniently book their flights and accommodation through popular international sites like Trivago and Agoda, which now have local domains and URLs. Even the popular Skyscanner has set up a Philippine site, comparing cheap flights or fares, car rentals or hires and hotel prices all in Philippine peso.

Local web sites like Travel Book and Visit My Philippines are also great champions themselves, as they offer booking suggestions per region and sort them with discounts and coupons. Partnerships with user-based review sites, like Trip Advisor, have greatly widened the scope of such sites to reach international pools and bring them here.

As it becomes easier and more streamlined to actually start the trip, it all boils down to the meat of the matter: “What do we do there?”

Your Internet itinerary

When it comes to traveling, the usual tide hits the famous sites, the leisure resorts, the uniquely tropical locations and the travel tours. But in the modern age of backpacking, Instagramming the “unbeaten path”, and groups opting for more flexible and personal adventures, the best sites that attract engagement are none other than the local blogs.

The most popular blogs have gained a certain following because they relate every experience (both good and bad) and show detailed itineraries that  curious travelers can successfully use to plan their own. Along stark images, descriptive and seemingly personal words litter these blogs and help ease the nervousness in foraying into distant lands.

With price ranges, travel tips, package details, contacts, transportation information and reviews all in one, the local blog has become a dependable go-to guide for those seeking out the best spots in the Philippines.

Filipino-run sites like, Our Awesome Planet, Pinay Solo Backpacker and The Poor Traveler, have become trusted staples in online tourism. Hence, they are featured now in the same field as international pages, like Lonely Planet, and have garnered sponsorships from the biggest urban chains, airline companies, to the littlest unknown nooks in the provinces.

Web apps and innovation

As technology and social media keep on advancing, so does user-to-user data and interaction. Web sites-turned-apps are in a vast majority of tourists’ digital toolboxes to help them on their way.

A popular pick, winning Brand of the Year 2015, is Airbnb. Now in the Philippines, locals can put up flats, homes, hotels and practically any lodging space for rent on this highly sought-after platform. Interactions and feedback work much like buy-and-sell sites, such as OLX and eBay, instead substituting products with temporary living spaces. With 30 million reservations tracked globally and 9,435 listings in Manila alone, the site (and its accompanying app) have essentially virtualized the so-called millennial adventure and made it that much easier to find a place to stay.

Even simple web apps turned mobile, like the trusty Google Maps, have advanced to display specific directions and traffic information for basically every location under the sun (or the satellites). To top it off, mixing actual human interaction with the quick response of technology created a new web site (with an app version, as well) called Showaround. The site lets travelers pick through a wide assortment of locals who have signed up to, as the name says, show tourists around their city. Available in most countries, the Philippines already showcases 2,924 locals in its roster.

Slowly being overshadowed are the travel industry’s age-old problems of inaccessibility and lack of visibility. With the mobile technology and the Internet virtually connecting us to the rest of the world, that international “barrier” can now be bridged in mere seconds.

Many a times, whether constricted by time or responsibilities, one might ask, “Why travel?” With the growing innovations in technologically driven tourism, it’s become that much easier to instead ask, “Why not?”

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About Author

Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

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