App feeds attractions on to screens

Tourism Waitaki sales and marketing co-ordinator Megan Howell (left) and iTravelNZ director Yuri ...
Tourism Waitaki sales and marketing co-ordinator Megan Howell (left) and iTravelNZ director Yuri Volna demonstrate new software featuring Waitaki tourism destinations. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Visitors to the Waitaki district are expected to start staying longer after the district's tourist attractions are included in a new smartphone application (app) recently released.

Developers for the iTravelNZ app spent the past week downloading information on the district for the app, which is already available for download to iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones.

New Zealand director of iTravel Yuri Volna said he expected tourists and Waitaki-based businesses, tourist attractions and voluntary organisations would benefit from the district's inclusion in the project.

"Basically, the idea behind this is to help travellers get off the beaten track so that people just passing through can be informed about the interesting stuff the area has to offer, so they stay for a few days, not just a few hours."

He added that the app, which featured Skype and integrated translation capabilities, would be constantly updated and could be carried around in a tourist's pocket.

"Smartphones encourage travellers to find instant information wherever they are. Apps unlock the potential to replace many of the formerly bulky travel items, such as guide books, laptop and camera, and they fit in your back pocket, so are always on you and the information is up to date.

"It is particularly useful for regions like this that may not have a lot of manpower to advertise. All museums and places run not for profit and by volunteers will be included. We are happy to upload the information for them free of charge."

Tourism Waitaki sales and marketing co-ordinator Megan Howell said she jumped at the chance to be involved after being contacted by Mr Volna, adding that all Waitaki had to offer would be included in the software.

"I was first contacted by iTravelNZ a few months ago and immediately downloaded their app on to my phone.

"I knew this was a great opportunity for Oamaru and Waitaki district, and as a regional tourism organisation, Tourism Waitaki needed to be involved. And even better, there is no cost to us."

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