The Department of Tourism (DOT) has pledged to include all stakeholders in the digitization of the tourism industry. It discussed the new initiative, the Grab Tours Project, in a meeting with representatives from hotels, tour operators, and tourist transport providers. The project, piloted earlier this month, aims to integrate the tourism value chain into Grab’s technology platform, offering services such as mobility, food deliveries, financial services, and soon, tour packages.
The DOT views this partnership with Grab as a way to foster digital transformation, focusing on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that form the bulk of the tourism value chain, as well as accredited tourism-related enterprises (TREs) that have been key to maintaining the industry during the pandemic.
The Department emphasizes the need for consultation in public-private ventures. The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) and the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) both express support for the initiative, with PHILTOA offering to help launch Grab Tours and propose tour packages and guides. They underline the importance of coordination among stakeholders and the need to support DOT-accredited TREs.
Grab Philippines sees this project as a collaboration with the tourism industry to help it go digital, offering its technology, branding, and marketing. Grab has trained select drivers under the DOT’s Filipino Brand of Service Excellence module to participate in Grab Tours. Some of these drivers are forming a cooperative to seek DOT accreditation as a tourist transport provider.
Representatives from the tourism industry generally agree that digitalization is crucial for the sector’s future, even if most, mainly MSMEs, lack the means to develop a super app like Grab. Various DOT officials, hotel representatives, tour operators, and tourist transport providers attended the meeting.