CEBU and Bohol are two of the country’s top tourism spots that will be showcased to a team from Beautiful Destinations, an award-winning creative technology agency that has built a large travel and lifestyle portfolio on Instagram and Snapchat.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced it is partnering with Beautiful Destinations to bring its five “biggest influencers” to the country to capture destination images and videos to drive the interest of its followers and inspire them to visit the Philippines.

The team will travel to Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Manila and Pangasinan from May 11 to 24.

“As the social media landscape continues to develop at a rapid pace, we have to adapt to changing times in order to stay ahead of the curve. Collaborating with Beautiful Destinations, which has already set the global standard for creating social content, is surely an effective way to make our country’s presence in the digital space more felt by travelers who are highly reliant on social media,” DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said in a statement.

Jimenez said the DOT is banking on the country’s image as a social media capital of the world, with a high percentage of the population highly active on social media, to boost the country’s marketing campaigns and attract more tourists to come to the country.

“Social media has, in fact, allowed us to be a game-changer in the tourism industry through our It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign, whose central strategy is executed and propagated by millions of active, enthusiastic Filipinos themselves, who feel they have the power to persuade people to visit their country as tourists,” he said.

Tourism stakeholders have been calling on the government to boost the country’s promotion on tourism by using social media as one of the measures.

However, while they encourage foreign and local tourists to take photos and posts, the country’s snail-paced Internet connection remains a top challenge.

“Digital connections will help us get linked and get recognized with the rest of the world,” said Robert Lim Joseph, founder of Network of Independent Travel Agencies.

He suggested that telco giants prioritize putting in place faster Internet connections to high-traffic tourist destinations for the country to get a good following from foreign tourists.

According to the DOT, the Beautiful Destinations team will share moments throughout each day of the trip on the Beautiful Destinations Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as on DOT’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The videos taken will also be stream outside the Philippine Center at 556 Fifth Avenue, New York, to give passersby a glimpse of the team’s adventure in the identified destinations.

“Advertising is evolving away from an art of interruption and towards an art of inclusion. We’re showcasing living, breathing, destinations, stories in real time and are incredibly excited about partnering with the Philippines Department of Tourism to harness the power of Instagram and Snapchat,” said Jeremy Jauncey, Beautiful Destinations founder and chief executive officer, in a statement.

“Shooting what we call social-first content prioritizes unique perspectives shot by social media experts, that captivate travelers in a much more genuine way than content typically shot for print and broadcast campaigns,” he added.

DOT will also host an InstaMeet between the Beautiful Destinations team and local travel and lifestyle influencers from the Philippines whose photos have been featured on the Beautiful Destinations Instagram page.

The meeting will provide a platform, both to the local and foreign travel influencers, to exchange insights and ideas about photography, travel, and lifestyle. Some of the local influencers invited include Cebuano furniture designer Vito Selma, Filipino backpackers, and photographers Jaypee Swing and Rod Ruales.

More than 10 million followers in over 180 countries turn to Beautiful Destinations for daily travel, food, fashion and lifestyle inspiration.

Beautiful Destinations creates “social first” content for brands through smartphone, drone and 360 video technology and uses visual analytics to optimize and enhance content. It also adopts a data-driven approach to creating brand narratives and effective marketing on social media.