‘Go digital,’ tourist-oriented firms urged

Published July 15, 2020, 2:39 PM

by Hanah Tabios

The regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Metro Manila is encouraging more tourism establishments to avail themselves of the innovative contactless digital solutions offered for free to bolster consumer confidence, especially now that some accommodation and dine-in establishments have partially reopened.

Last June, the DOT agreed to adopt the SafePass Express and EatIn Express (formerly DineIn Express), which are both all-digital, contact-free digital solutions developed by Talino Venture Labs in partnership with the tourism department.

According to developer Winston Damarillo SafePass Express intends to protect customers by providing business owners the ability to manage and design their spaces, while EatIn Express is basically ordering through a digital menu generated by a QR code.

However, until now, no single tourism establishment has been availing itself of the apps. It was only the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), as well as the DOT, that are currently using the SafePass for their day-to-day operations.

“These apps will be made available free-of-charge for all DOT-accredited establishments and restaurants, which we hope will encourage more tourism establishments to get accredited. They are designed with the safety of tourists and the general public in mind,” DOT National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Director Woodrow Maquiling, Jr. told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.

Maquiling also said that the DOT is now exhausting efforts to urge tourism stakeholders to take advantage of the free apps. In fact, just last week, they hosted a webinar for accredited and non-accredited tourism establishments to tackle relevant issues concerning the use of SafePass primarily.  

The DOT-NCR noted that a good number of restaurants have already their own innovative technology, such as a QR code-based solution for both health declaration form for contact tracing efforts and food menu for contactless transaction. 

This was also confirmed during the inspection made jointly by Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, along with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, in selected hotels and restaurants in the cities of Pasig and Mandaluyong early this July. 

Puyat  said that she wants all restaurants and accommodation establishments to be contact free to prevent a potential outbreak in tourism with the partial resumption of businesses.