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Globe Gives Away Free SIM Cards to All Foreign Tourists and OFWs

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Globe Telecom, in partnership with Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, announced today to give away free SIM cards to all foreign tourists and Overseas Contract Workers (OFW) visiting or coming back to the country, respectively. Starting tomorrow, July 30, 2015, Globe will start issuing the free SIM cards to incoming foreign tourists and OFWs through its booths inside the airports of NAIA, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Iloilo, and Clark. Tourists can present their non-Philippine passports or foreign resident cards, while OFWs can show their Seaman’s book or OFW E-card. This free SIM cards promo will end on December 31, 2015.

So, how many free SIM cards is that going to be? Roughly about 2.23 million!

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is the marketing arm of the Philippine’s Department of Tourism (DOT). The board was tasked to promote the Philippines as the top tourist destination in Asia through its “Visit the Philippines Year 2015” tourism campaign, with a goal of garnering 5.5 million foreign tourists arriving in the Philippines. With this goal, it has partnered with Globe Telecom, the first telecommunications company it has done so, through the International Business Group of the telecom giant to offer various services to the millions of tourists visiting the Philippines, and for the OFWs returning home. The two entities conducted the formal contract signing at the Aracama in the Fort Strip of Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City this morning in front of a backdrop that said:

Staying Connected – More Fun in the Philippines.

Buffet lunch at Aracama was served with the main course being three kinds of lechon: Original lechon, Spanish lechon and Truffle lechon. Of course, I tried all three and concluded the Spanish style was the best tasting one. Kudos to Chef Fernando Aracama for this kind of gastronomic treat!

After lunch, Tracy Abad opened the event by describing who the two entities were and a description of the partnership that was about to happen. However, I was still curious if what they were going to announce was a smartphone app, a website or something else. Tracy Abad is currently the morning show host for Mellow 94.7, a Philippine FM radio station. She was the TV show host with the now-discontinued QTV of GMA Network.

Opening remarks were delivered by the representing officers of both entities. First on the stage was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of TPB Domingo Ramon Enerio III who gave a synapse of inbound tourism in the country.

Summarizing what he said, there were a total of 2.23 million tourists who arrived in the Philippines between January and May this year, an 8.15% leap compared to last year of the same period. The average stay of a tourist in the country is 10 nights and the average tourist spends more than $100 a day. That’s a whooping 93.9 billion Pesos in tourism earnings for the first five months of 2015.

I did some Google-ing (is there such a word?) and found out that between 1991 and 2015, the highest recorded foreign arrivals in the country was December last year at 487,654 tourists while the lowest recorded foreign arrivals was February of 1991 at 63,628. Also during the event, Enerio enumerated the top 10 countries for incoming foreign tourists come from, mainly:

  1. Korea
  2. USA
  3. Japan
  4. China
  5. Australia
  6. Singapore
  7. Canada
  8. Taiwan
  9. UK
  10. Malaysia

But another Google-ing led me to tourism.gov.ph and the top spending markets based on visitor earnings were not the same. The top three countries in the government website was the same but the 4th highest was listed as Australia, not China which was in 5th place. Then, it was more different for the 6th to 9th place, namely: (6) Canada, (7) UK, (8) Singapore, and (9) Spain. Taiwan was missing from the website’s top 10 list. Okay, maybe I’m reading the stats on the website differently.

After Enerio, the Senior Vice President for International Business of Globe Telecom Rizza Maniego-Eala entered the stage and spoke of the need to help the promotions board hit their 5.5 million tourist target, and Globe’s role to do so. This is when she announced their intent to give away free SIM cards to every incoming foreign tourist and OFW – the first campaign in a series of more campaigns to come.

Called the Globe Traveler SIM, it is a local prepaid SIM card that offers the same services as every prepaid customer of Globe enjoys – local rates for calls, text messaging, and mobile internet services, giving foreign tourists and OFWs a more cost-efficient way to communicate and connect rather than using an international number which charges expensive roaming rates for calling, text messaging and internet browsing while in the Philippines. For example, they can use the Globe Traveler SIM and call the U.S. for as low as $0.40 per minute. That’s low compared to high roaming charges – for example, AT&T would bill an American $2.50 per minute to call from the Philippines to anywhere in the world, including home country USA.

Eala adds, “We are happy to be the first telco partner of the Tourism Promotions Board in their thrust to make the Philippines the ultimate destination hub for tourists worldwide. Offering free SIMs is our way of helping travelers further enjoy their stay by enabling easy, affordable and hassle-free communications.”

A question-and-answer portion followed for people in media and guests to ask for more information about the partnership. Then, a table was set where both Enerio and Eala sat down to formally sign the partnership contracts while everyone witnessed, video-taped and snapped photos of the moment.

For more information on the FREE Globe Traveler SIM, please visit the Globe Traveler SIM website. For jetsetters, backpackers, and thrill-seekers, Visit the Philippines Year 2015 provides a year-round calendar guide for all adventures, whether it be food trips, walking tours, or festivals. For information on activities and events, please log on to www.visitph2015.com.

Sources and references of text: Globe Press Release | tourism.gov.ph | AT&T

Photos and images: Globe Press Release | tourism.gov.ph | @raffypekson #capturebyKata

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

July 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Government & Politics, ICT, Travel & Tourism

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Adventour – For Backpackers and Budget Travelers

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“You’ve got to be crazy!”

This was and still is the common reaction of my online friends (and offline as well) when I told them I recently joined a start up print magazine company. In our digital age, would an old school magazine survive? I think so. I know so.

I’ve been in the digital world since the day I lay my fingers on the teletype machine of a Digital Electronics Corporation (DEC) PDP-8 in 1981, a minicomputer the size of household refrigerator hooked up to dumb terminals and teletypes using a timesharing phenomenon called Resource Sharing Timesharing System or RSTS. From then on, an IBM mainframe, a few minicomputers, lots of microcomputers, personal computers, laptops, notebooks, netbooks and today’s tablets and smartphones have made me wired and wireless in my day-to-day life.

But I still buy print magazines, books made of paper, and would grab the day’s broadsheet newspaper to turn the pages my arm rather than my fingers. In most of the Southeast Asian countries, though the penetration of mobile phones is high, the general public still rely on print media to get the current events, opinions, features and gossip. The older generation still wants to touch paper when reading and the younger generation still has to contend with paper-made books, pens, pencils and paper-made notebooks in school. Print media in the context of demographic statistics is still one of the three main mediums of information and entertainment, together with radio and television.

Adventour started in October last year with the intent of providing travel articles to the reading public in the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Content was and is being developed in the Philippines but with trips to other countries. In March of this year, I met with the publisher and editor-in-chief and came on board as the magazine’s Marketing Director, together with a new advertising head, too. Together, we re-engineered the strategy and direction of the magazine that resulted in its current tagline – The Backpacker’s Lifestyle Guide.

Adventour, on its third quarterly issue, will start talking to backpackers, budget travelers, budget vacationers, budget diners and budget lifestyle seekers by the fourth quarterly issue. We broke down our target age group into five: 40% of the 25-30 years of age, 25% of the 31-40, 15% each of the 15-24 and 41-54, and 5% of the 55 and above. This simply means to whom our stories will be talking to by age, including targeting the urbanized market. We all know everyone owns a mobile phone and people tend to assume the majority are online. Statistics tells us otherwise – 32% have access to the internet and 28% have social media accounts, both active and inactive.  This only means that the primary medium of information in the Philippines is still tri-media, with print media playing a major role. Maybe the online world will catch up soon but not soon enough.

The Adventour team would like to make it very easy for its market to get its hands on a copy of the magazine, very easy to use it as their travel and lifestyle guide, and very easy to earn or gain from using it. Circulation is key and for now, the magazine is free.

Adventour will begin to feature everything a backpacker and budget traveler wants to read and see – people, places, promos, value for money and the unique experience. It’s not just another common travel magazine; rather, we want that one special breed of travelers to benefit from reading Adventour – the backpacker and the budget traveler.

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If you are interested to advertise with Adventour, please e-mail me at adventour@pekson.com and I or someone else will send you the media kit.

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If you are interested to get a copy of Adventour, please fill in the short form below.

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