Kerala Tourism has launched mobile guides in form of a mobile website and apps for iPhone and Android, and bluetooth kiosks to provide information on tourist destinations to travelers visiting the state. The board hopes to help travellers explore destinations in the state without the need to hire external guides. As per the tourism board, the mobile site will offer all features, currently available on the State Tourism website.
iPhone app: We gave the iPhone app a shot, and felt that it was developed keeping tourists in mind, in terms of visual appeal, ease of use and information dissemination. The start page features a picture slider with controls for changing the user’s location(or selecting auto-detection), launching the app Menu, and Searching a location.
Since the app supports location detection, it offers a ‘What’s Near Me’ option displaying popular tourist spots in the user’s vicinity, on a map or in the form of a list. Each of the map marks link to a detailed page, offering an overview of the place along with Reviews from users and Photos.Users can upload and post photos and reviews, though we’re not sure how they will be moderated.
Then there’s a Tourist Guide Book, featuring a slider of various destinations (14 at the time of writing this post), a detailed description and a listing of places of interests in each. The app also features a Tour planner, where users can enter the place of their arrival, departure, and time of arrival and a theme for their holiday, following which the app offers suggestions on a map.
The app also includes handy utilities like a Currency Converter, Distance Calculator, weather information and updates from the Kerala government and tourism department. There is also share option using which users can share pictures and messages on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
Mobile Website: The tourism board has also launched a mobile website at m.keralatourism.org, featuring information about the state including details related to Ayurveda, Artforms, Cuisines, Houseboats, Places to stay, tour operators, festival calendar, and travel alerts, among others, in mobile optimized format. It also features a Travel Guide similar to the mobile app.
Bluetooth Kiosks: Kerala Tourism has also launched Bluetooth Kiosks to provide real-time information to the tourists landing in Kerala. The Bluetooth Kiosks, are to be set up at key places like the international airports in various states.
The Kerala Tourism website claims to get 7000-8000 visits per day and more than 2.5 million visits in a year. We feel that other tourism boards should also optimise their websites for mobiles and revamp desktop versions to include more usable information in a friendly user interface.