The Tourist Department of Porto City Council
Porto is the second largest city of Portugal and one of the oldest urban centres in Europe, recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996. The Tourist Department of the Porto City Council is in charge of collecting and organising information to guide visitors through the city’s many sites of cultural interest, while seeking for opportunities and partnerships to increase the attractiveness of Porto for local and foreign tourists.
Recent years have shown a change in the way people travel. Today, tourists tend to travel more frequently than in the past and for shorter periods of time. Traditional means of planning holidays and guiding visitors did not prove to be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the needs of such “touch-and-go” tourists, often needing precise and relevant information on the spot during brief holidays.
A survey by the Tourist Department showed most tourists visiting for short-breaks were, on average, single between 25 and 34 years old or couples between 55 and 64, with a high level of education and income. Such tourists are familiar with technology and open to new, innovative trip-planning solutions.
The Satellite Solution
To promote and enhance tourism, the Tourist Department is engaging with the private sector by providing an online information portal and a Tourism Resources Database, that can be used by third parties to develop and showcase new products and services. LatitudeN, a technology start-up founded in Darmstadt (Germany), in partnership with the city “Farol Porto”, used the Database to develop a travel application for the city.
The application can be download on smartphones, and uses satellite navigation to not only generate fully personalised tours, adapted to the visitors’ interests and time, but also to suggest nearby places worth visiting, in real-time.
The application was created by LatitudeN within the framework of the ESA Business Incubation Initiative.
“Farol Porto” was inaugurated by the Municipality in 2011 as the official city guide. It has been downloaded over 1 100 times so far. It is a valuable tool for tourists, providing continuously updated information and tips to enjoy short trips in the city, with no need for extensive planning, no maps or paper guides, enabling users to maximise the use of the leisure time they spend there.
The Tourist Department web portal includes a special section allowing visitors to download mobile applications on smartphones and tablets, and let themselves be guided through several thematic geo-referenced itineraries “in the palm of their hands”.
The Tourist Department of Porto recognises the added-value of the application both as a service for tourists and for its own tourism strategy and efforts to increase city attractiveness.