Belfast Telegraph

Mobile technology set to help boost tourism

By Clare Weir

A team from the University of Ulster in Coleraine has secured funding to help boost the tourism market in Northern Ireland - via mobile phones.

Money from the EU's Northern Periphery Programme will be used to apply mobile applications technology to create specific visitor information for tourist attractions to effectively turn the tourist's mobile phone into their very own personalised tour guide.

The news comes just weeks after Northern Ireland entrepreneurs were urged 'not to sit and wait for things to happen' in order to embrace and benefit from tourism potential.

Rohit Talwar, from research and consultancy firm Fast Future, was one of a number of guest speakers addressing a Northern Ireland Tourist Board conference aimed at exploiting the potential provided by the Titanic anniversary, Londonderry being named UK City of Culture and other events.

"The next few years will be very turbulent, budgets will be tight, but if you look carefully you can see where the areas of growth will be, by looking at our technology," he said.

"Look at people's phones - everything is personalised, it's what I want, when I want, all configured on a phone.

"People need to be building applications for these phones, it doesn't cost much, what about a 3D pop up of the Giant's Causeway? Digital overlays on your historical buildings.

Dr Peter Bolan, director for International Travel and Tourism Management at the university said that mobile phone technology presents huge potential for the future of visitor interpretation at tourist attractions. "People want fast, efficient and easy access to information of all kinds and tourism is no different," he said.