The Department of Information and Communications Technology is exploring possible economic opportunities for the country in tapping the metaverse, particularly in the area of tourism, according to DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy.
Uy spoke of the expanding multibillion-dollar metaverse when asked by senators during his confirmation hearing recently before the Commission on Appointments about the virtual real estate.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, who just came from witnessing the distribution of housing units in Cavite, asked Uy of his thoughts on the matter.
The country’s ICT chief said the metaverse is a concept that has been around for some years now with Mark Zuckerberg as one of its strongest advocates that was why he renamed his Facebook to Meta.
Other technology leaders are not yet believers, he said, “but there are also a large segment of followers,” Uy told the bicameral panel.
“With respect to this, the metaverse or is actually a alternative reality that exists in the digital realm. And this is where people are able to participate visually using what we call avatars. The avatars can look like you or it can be any creature. So it actually provides people with an outlet where they can have. In real life, they experience so many restrictions. They cannot perhaps express their own sexuality, their gender or their desire, because there’s so much societal limitations,” he explained.
“So this alternative reality in the metaverse provides them with an alternate existence, so to speak, where they can be we who they want to be. They can project themselves… What advocates want to do is really create an alternate world, a virtual world where they can transact business, they can enjoy and enjoy to be the rock star in Hollywood, they’re with all the fans, though their own concert,” he said.
He disclosed the DICT is embarking on a project to take advantage of the metaverse experience to promote the Philippines as a prime tourist destination where prospective visitors can have a sampling of the country’s attractions.
“If we can provide them, let’s say… surfing in Surigao. And you know seeing all the waves and all of those, it might create an interest now to actually see it in person. And that could also could be part of our marketing for our tourism,” Uy said.
He said many countries have already used the metaverse for tourism promotion purposes, like the Tokyo Tower that has a virtual version where people can actually experience a visit—from riding the elevator to reaching the top and seeing the view of the capital.