How the Philippines is Revolutionizing Your Next Visit with Free Internet at Tourism Hotspots

DOT and DICT eye Boracay to be one of the first tourism sites with free internet access. Photo of White Beach in Boracay by Erwin Lim via DOT.

‌Tourists will soon enjoy Free Wi-Fi for 94 travel destinations in the Philippines, according to the joint announcement of the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

At a press briefing in Malacañang last May 16, 2023, the two departments met to discuss the newly-approved Philippine Tourism Development Plan 2023-2028. The plan includes 46 tourist sites in Baguio, Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu which will be endowed with free internet by June this year. These include Camp John Hay, the Bato-Bato Hot Spring, the Boracay White Beach, and Bantayan Island, among others.

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‌The other 48 tourist destinations will have to wait until the end of the year for their share of free Wi-Fi. The DOT remarked that it would also include less high-profile tourist spots around the country.

“[This is] in order to ensure that our tourists will have a complete experience in tourism areas,” DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy stated. Research has found that quality internet access is linked to higher tourism satisfaction.

DOT and DICT had previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) tackling digitalization and connectivity last December 20, 2022. Uy said that the technology DICT will use to provide the internet will be on a case-by-case basis; either fiber optics or satellites will be in operation depending on the landscape of the area.

DICT further pledged to improve internet bandwidth in these tourist spots. The National Broadband Plan rolled out by DICT in 2017 had formerly addressed slow internet speed by aiming for a 10 Mbps download rate by 2020. By 2021, the Philippines’ mobile internet speed ranked 86th worldwide, against its 111th spot in the preceding year.

‌Earlier this year, 14 tourism services in the Philippines were awarded by the ASEAN Tourism Standards Awards 2023-2025. The Philippines was also designated as the next big thing in travel by the Times UK.

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