Mobile app at heart of Dublin’s bid to bring 1m extra visitors

2 Sep 2010

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Dublin Tourism is expecting more than 100,000 downloads of a new Android and iPhone app that is one of the flagship features of a new digital strategy to bring 1 million extra visitors to the city by 2015.

Dublin is the world’s first city to provide a pointing technology-enabled smartphone app which will allows users to point their mobile device at a building or object in the real world and retrieve information about it.

“It delivers Dublin in the palm of your hand and will become the default way of visiting Dublin and inevitably be replicated by other leading tourist destinations around the world,” according to Dublin Tourism’s chief executive, Frank Magee.

The tourism authority and its partners are investing €10m in a digital strategy that promotes Dublin to consumers worldwide, which will deliver an additional 1 million visitors to Dublin by 2015. The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin TD, who launched the app, said some 3.8 million people visited Dublin last year.

“Mobile technology is part of more and more people’s lives, and a vast wealth of information at your fingertips is what visitors will look for when visiting a vibrant city like Dublin.  Having this new app with so many features on thousands of places of interest around the city shows Dublin Tourism is leading the way.”

Augmented reality

The Visit Dublin app uses innovative technology to allow visitors to use directional search to move about Dublin and discover their interests.

The augmented reality feature allows users to view overlaid images, opening times or playing audio. The app covers the greater Dublin area and operates within a 10km radius from where the user is located. It features extensive detailed content for tourists, sourced from the Visit Dublin.com website’s 7,000 pages of information that are geocoded and will initially cover about 1,400 points of interest.

A facility is available to create channels within the app, which allows tourism providers to create their own app for inclusion in the Visit Dublin app.

A number of e-commerce developments are planned for the app, including a more dynamic coupon serving engine that allows retailers to manage their own coupon delivery and campaigns; dynamic itinerary information; flight information and accommodation; and a booking engine.

Dynamic app content is stored in the cloud and cached information is stored on the mobile device.

In addition to the Visit Dublin app, Dublin Tourism’s digital strategy centres on the Visit Dublin website, the recently launched VisitDublin.com TV, eZines, social media and the iWalk series.

Creativity

“The tourism business is inextricably linked with engaging creatively with visitors. Innovation has been Dublin Tourism’s watchword for a long time. We were the first city tourism organisation in the world to use the ‘visit’ concept. The intuitive Visit Dublin app is another world first that will help us punch above our weight by increasing visitor numbers and improving the Dublin tourist experience,” said Magee.

The Visit Dublin app costs €2.99 and is available from the Apple App Store and Android Market, both accessible online.

Dublin Tourism developed the app in conjunction with GeoGuides, an Irish software company, and provides all of its content. It is the first worldwide tourist guide app deployed on GeoGuide’s proprietary platform, which is uniquely powered by GeoVector Corporation.

Ann Riordan, Dublin Tourism’s chairman, said: “We have emphasised the importance of becoming ambassadors for the Dublin region.

“The Visit Dublin app will complement their invaluable work of word-of-month endorsement and on-the-ground assistance that enhances Dublin’s tourist offering. We believe that the app will be popular among Dubliners and Irish holidaymakers, as it will be with visiting tourists,” Riordan added.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com