[PHOTO AT LEFT - Engr. Marino Romerde of Smart’s Network and Platforms Services Division-Bohol shows Municipality of Carmen IT Officer Erwin June Daung (rightmost) how to connect to the Internet using the Smart Bro prepaid plug-it unit. MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JULY 11, 2009 (STAR)  Visitors to the world-renowned Chocolate Hills as well as those who take the pleasant and restful Loboc river cruise in Bohol will no longer have to wait before they can get back to their hotels to upload pictures or blog about their experience.

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is boosting Bohol’s tourism initiatives in these two popular tourist attractions by providing personal computer units and Internet connectivity where it matters — on the spot. Now, the tourism centers in the towns of Carmen and Loboc have access to the World Wide Web.

“Wonderful. We never expected that Smart would donate this kind of electronic equipment. It’s very useful especially in our operations at the Chocolate Hills Complex. We are so very glad and thankful to SMART for its generosity to the municipality of Carmen,” said town mayor Manuel R. Molina.

Molina received a computer as well as a Smart Bro prepaid plug-it unit from SMART officials led by Public Affairs Vismin Senior Manager Maria Jane C. Paredes.

“We are very grateful and excited. We believe that this new technology in our tourism complex will enable tourists to have easy access for their Internet needs. We hope that connectivity will attract more tourists to Loboc,” said town mayor Leon A. Calipusan, who received two computer units as well as provision for one-year free connectivity via Smart Bro.

Smart, through its Engaging Bohol program, is supporting Bohol’s efforts to strengthen its position as one of the top tourist destinations in the country by providing Internet connectivity in the towns of Carmen and Loboc. Internet access is vital not only for the operations of both tourism centers in these towns, but more importantly, for the tourists.

Since the Chocolate Hills and the Loboc river cruise are usually part of a day-long itinerary, tourists have been known to approach the tourism centers in these two areas to seek assistance in retrieving their mails, check their flight schedules, download photos from their cameras and save them on USBs or discs to share with fellow-tourists whom they meet on the tour or simply to update their Facebook accounts or get in touch with loved ones.

The need for Internet connectivity became very much apparent when the Province started campaigning for the inclusion of the Chocolate Hills as one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. Busloads of tourists at the site were asked to manually fill out forms, which tourism staff would collect then encode at the town proper to get the votes counted. Now, all that’s needed is for the tourists themselves to access the site at the office and click their votes themselves.

In Loboc, Smart turned the Tourism Complex into a WiFi Zone where people can connect to the Internet for free, using their own gadgets. The complex is virtually a waiting area for those who want to experience a leisurely and gastronomically delightful cruise on the Loboc river; hence it is a chance for tourists to go online and catch up on some correspondence or check their social networking accounts.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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