CMDI to launch first ever Tourism e-Laboratory in Tagum campus
In its pursuit to advance its digitization initiatives, CARD-MRI Development Institute (CMDI), in partnership with CARD MRI Hijos Tours, will launch its first ever Tourism e-Laboratory in CMDI Tagum, Davao del Norte on July 16, 2021.
The students of BS Tourism Management in CMDI Tagum will get to experience the new experimental tourism laboratory, which is a crucial step in producing tourism-related videos, 360° virtual reality (VR) tours, marketing activities, and other fun tour programs anchored in the vision of CARD MRI to eradicate poverty through education and tourism.
With the establishment of the Tourism e-Laboratory, CMDI aims to give the students a chance to explore the possibilities of digitization, especially during the pandemic.
The e-Laboratory can host students and faculty members of CMDI as well as partners, stakeholders, and clients of CARD MRI once in-person tours are permitted and more travel bubbles are set up in the country. With this, travelers, especially Nanays from Mindanao, can virtually travel to Luzon and Visayas through the 360° videos and other virtual reality tours produced in the Tourism e-Laboratory.
Tours that will be curated inside the laboratory will include destinations from the five tour programs of Hijos Tours namely San Pablo City in Laguna, Baguio in Benguet, Samar and Leyte in Visayas, Iloilo, and Davao.
Responding to the pandemic through virtual reality
Among the heavily-impacted industries in the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic is tourism. To make sure this challenge will not affect the purpose of Hijos Tours to celebrate people, art, and culture, they looked for a way to continue bringing their services to Filipino communities.
“We were challenged to explore various mediums and technologies to push tourism amid the many challenges our country is facing today. With the pandemic underway, we saw how virtual reality is a viable technology that we can adapt to reinforce our purpose,” Hijos Tours President and Chairperson Marilyn M. Manila said.
According to Manila, VR can also be a form of tourism marketing, which is a way to keep the institution under the radar of travelers. “VR opens the opportunity for us to market our destinations so that our institution will remain on top of the minds of our travelers.”
With VR as one of its adapted mediums, Hijos Tours came up with the idea of integrating VR into the program of CMDI Tagum’s Tourism Management students.
“Through VR, we can recreate our culture, revive the past, preserve our heritage, and make room for edutainment (education and entertainment) in our curriculum,” said Manila.
Manila added that visitors who do not have access to internet infrastructures and smartphones may enjoy traveling virtually through the installment of the Tourism e-Laboratory, which houses an LCD Projector, Samsung Tablets, and VR goggles for projecting self-paced VR tours, promotional videos, and 360° VR tours.
“The pandemic really helped us reevaluate and improve the things we do for our students,” said CMDI Senior Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Dr. Edzel A. Ramos. He added, “As we continue to convert our services online, we saw the need to install the Tourism e-Laboratory to maximize e-learning for our students. We believe that this is a great way to really immerse them in the field of tourism especially as we transition to a New Normal in this day and age.”
A brainchild of Hijos Tours, the Tourism e-Laboratory fulfills one of the key strategies of CARD MRI in its 10-20-80 campaign to reinforce digitization in education and tourism and to reach out to more partners and communities by means of its technological initiatives.
The 10-20-80 campaign is a strategic direction of CARD MRI which means that in 10 years, it will reach 20 million clients and provide insurance to 80 million individuals.