THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is currently pilot-testing a project with ride-hailing app Grab Philippines, where select partner-drivers will take tourists around the city.
In a post on its Facebook page last May 12 titled, “On-demand tours in Manila launching soon,” the DOT said Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco met with Grab executives to discuss their partnership, which will allow individuals to “book tours within the Grab platform.”
The agency shared, “Under the GrabTours Manila project, passengers can book a 5-hour tour around Manila via the Grab mobile application….The drivers, who will also undergo briefing on the tourist sites, will double as tour guides during the trip and will ferry the passengers using vehicles wrapped with the distinct Grab and DOT branding. After the tour, passengers will be dropped off at their hotel lobby.”
This is the second initiative of the DOT for city tours, after recently launching the Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tours project. (See, “Ayala ties up with DOT for HoHo bus tours,” in the BusinessMirror, June 1, 2023.)
Trained in FBSE
According to the agency, “For purposes of the pilot run, concierge booths will be placed in the DOT-accredited hotels. The drivers, who will already be on standby within the identified hotels, shall pick up passengers at the hotel lobby and proceed to take them to some of the City’s most popular destinations—Luneta Park, Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, San Agustin Church, National Museum of the Philippines, and Binondo, following an itinerary curated and approved by the DOT-NCR [National Capital Region] Office.”
The agency added that 30 GrabCar drivers completed its one-day training on the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE) last April 28 and will take part in the pilot run.
Frasco “emphasized the pivotal role of the private sector in the DOT’s whole-of-nation approach to tourism development [and] expressed optimism on the success of the pilot run of the GrabTours Manila.” She noted, “the platform’s potential to benefit tourists in areas outside Metro Manila, as well as to expand and involve more tourism stakeholders and sites in the long run.”
The DOT chief, along with other officials, inspected one of the vehicles to be used in the project, which was parked at the agency’s office along Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati. Grab was represented at the meeting by its public affairs manager Kurt Cendana, head of mobility EJ Dela Vega, and transport marketplace assistant manager JC Gertes.
In 2019, the DOT also implemented a project with Grab for “GrabWheels,” a two-wheel, personal mobility device (PMD) that tourists could use when going around Intramuros. The PMDs were available to the public free of charge for three months.
In 2021, at the height of the pandemic, DOT likewise partnered with Grab to deliver produce by small farmers and food products of micro-, small, and medium enterprises for the agency’s Philippine Harvest online trade fair. Under the project, buyers could book orders from the fair’s partner-merchants and have their items delivered the same day through GrabExpress.