HARNESSING modern technology—such as cashless payment systems and digitalization—is the future of the travel and tourism industry in the Philippines, stakeholders said.

Carl Bryan Enerio, regional business head for enterprise sales at Maya Business, said e-wallet and other cashless modes of payment are the future of the tourism industry.

Enerio said it is much easier for merchants and business owners to shift from physical transactions to e-commerce especially in the mode of payment.

He said most Filipinos are already active e-wallet users. To date, Maya Business, powered by digital payments company PayMaya Philippines and Maya Bank, has over 15 million registered users, a growth attributed to the lockdown and restrictions brought by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“When one goes to a flight to Boracay from Manila, he can pay his ticket via Maya card with our airline industry partner. Then upon arriving in the Caticlan airport, he takes a tricycle, paying with a QR Code, then one checks in the hotel for his stay upon arrival paying with his debit card or credit card, one can also pay his hotel via QR Code, or some restaurant, or some services in Boracay,” Enerio shared during the Go Explore Cebu: Tourism Summit held at the SMX Convention Hall of the SM Seaside Cebu on Thursday.

Enerio said going digital is more convenient and rewarding; it allows safer transactions by eliminating cash handling; and it establishes a financial and digital footprint that means more presence for a business.

For her part, Christine Marie Gohetia, regional sales head for enterprise Visayas at Converge ICT Solutions, emphasized the important role of internet connectivity to the country’s tourism recovery.

“It (digitalization) is not the future but it is happening now. The internet connectivity has changed the landscape of everything, it has become the way of life,” Gohetia said.

Gohetia emphasized that internet connectivity has also improved the tourism industry in providing connectivity and convenience to the travelers.

One example is booking airline tickets or hotel accommodation online that can be done with an internet connection.

Gohetia said digitalization has also increased online revenue and website traffic for businesses, reduced their operational costs and the use of paper, and improved customer service.