Asean, Baguio City tap tech solution to promote tourism


Digital technology will be the key tool to boost tourism both in the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) region and Baguio City, the Philippines’s summer capital.

The Asean Tourism Association (Aseanta) tapped leading artificial intelligence and Big Data technology provider Fusionex to introduce Aseanta Travel Exchange (ATEX), a comprehensive virtual exhibition and engagement platform, to help facilitate an inclusive business environment and provide greater access to new markets.

“This collaboration between Aseanta and Fusionex is a historical event—a true Asean partnership bringing together the combined resources of Asean member-states, in both the the public and private sector, to take tourism in the region to new levels, and to firmly establish Asean as one of the most viable and attractive tourist destinations in the world,” said Eddy Krismeidi Soemawilaga, president of Aseanta, in a recent online press briefing.

Soemawilaga stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought a huge disruption in the travel and tourism sector as borders have been closed and large gatherings discouraged.  He expressed optimism in Aseanta’s transition from physical to virtual, seamlessly improving accessibility, connection and engagement while removing the restrictions of time and space through virtual exhibitions, webinars, digital marketing campaigns, and more.

With ATEX’s suite of innovative solutions, he said this will empower Aseanta in organizing virtual events while driving meaningful and measurable online interactions. It also offers a platform that offers an intelligent business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking feature that connects local enterprises with global businesses to enable market expansion.

By embracing digitalization, Fusionex Group CEO Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh said Aseanta is ready to embrace the new normal for the future of travel, hospitality, and tourism, and help enterprises to cope with the pandemic and the new norm for continued sustainability. He pointed out that travel and tourism players can also harness the platform’s global distribution system to conduct secured uninterrupted business transactions, virtual marketing, livestreaming of pitching sessions, real-time reporting capabilities, monitoring, and measurement features, and capitalizing on powerful artificial (AI)-powered digital marketing tools for specific campaigns.

On the local front, the City Government of Baguio has chosen Oracle Cloud to help manage the interstate visitor traffic application process to support the city’s cautious reopening of tourism activities and boost the local economy. Powered by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) online registration system and mobile application enable the City of Pines to register and trace visitors more accurately which ensures the safety of almost 360,000 residents and interstate tourists. The deployment of Oracle Cloud has also delivered 55 percent cost savings as compared to running the system on-premises.

“As with many places around the world, seeing the city devoid of tourists was very hard. Wanting to welcome them back and protect our residents at the same time, we turned to technology for the answer as we recognized the efficiencies it could bring. We selected Oracle Cloud for the Baguio VISITA program due to its enterprise-grade performance, rapid scalability, and simplicity of integration which enabled the system to go live in just one week. Since moving to the cloud, we have seen significant cost savings,” said Alec Mapalo, division head, City Tourism and Special Events Office, City of Baguio, said in a separate online webinar.

The city government decided to develop an integrated visitor management system to track the visitors’ movements and impose local health and safety protocols.  Pre-Covid, Baguio City attracted more than a million visitors each year. Moreover, the web site registered more than 13 million hits.

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