Tourism businesses and politicians have given a big thumbs up to a ‘Show Me Wales’ iphone/ipad app, which provides a comprehensive guide to things to do, activities and places to visit across the country.
The first ever pan-Wales app of its type, together with a mobile website, were launched on March 2, during Wales Tourism Week, at an event held at Corris Craft Centre, near Machynlleth, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Show Me Wales app and mobile website - www.showmewales.co.uk - have been developed, with specialist technical support, by Mid Wales Tourism (MWT) in partnership with North Wales Tourism.
MWT, which is celebrating its 21st birthday this year, is a not for profit organisation representing more than 550 tourism and hospitality businesses across Mid and South Wales.
Free to download at the Apple iphone store, the app has sections on Mid Wales Naturally Different, sponsored by Tourism Partnership Mid Wales, South West Wales Beaches (South West Wales Tourism Partnership), North Wales Great Days Out (North Wales Tourism), Castles and Historic Sites (Cadw), Cultural South East Wales (South East Wales Tourism Partnership) and Ceredigion Walking and Cycling (Ceredigion Council).
Sections on Places to Stay and Places to Eat and Drink are being sponsored by MWT and there’s also a section on Things to do on a Rainy Day. Information about attractions, activities, events and places to eat and drink is available to users, who will also be able to book accommodation directly from their smart phone.
Promoting all the main visitor attractions and activities in Wales, ‘Show Me Wales’ utilises the iPhone’s in-built GPS signal, enabling visitors and local people to source information in their immediate vicinity as they travel around the country.
The mobile website -www.m.showmewales.co.uk – has been launched to complement the app and includes information about events and festivals across Wales.
Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies congratulated Mid Wales Tourism and its partners and said the app and mobile website would be valuable resources for people visiting Wales.
“Those of us who have to work via iphones and ipads need to access information on the move and this app is going to be particularly important as we struggle to keep Tourist Information Centres open,” he said.
Rhydian Mason, Cambrian Railways Partnership’s development officer, said: “There is nothing like this app in the market place in Wales and I think it’s a huge step forward.
“Tourism is such an important part of the Welsh economy, particularly in rural areas like Mid and West Wales and it’s going to make it a lot easier for people to have a TIC in their pocket, which enables them to pick up information whenever and wherever they are in the country.”
Cliff Bates, from Ceredigion Council, said the authority was happy to be a partner in the app project and applauded the dynamic approach to marketing both Ceredigion and the rest of Wales.
“We realise that the digital tool is now the biggest weapon we have in the marketing armoury and this user friendly app is just what we need,” he added.
Neil Warren-Kyle, joint owner of Warren Parc caravan holiday home and chalet park at Penegoes, Machynlleth, said he would be recommending the app to all his customers. “With the closure of our TICs, it’s going to be a very valuable resource,” he added.
County and community councillor John Pughe Roberts, from Dinas Mawddwy, said the app was great news for the local area and Wales as a whole.
“The tourism industry creates so much wealth and jobs, both directly and indirectly, here in Mid Wales and hopefully this app is going to improve the information available to visitors,” he added.
“In the event of rainy weather, it will allow visitors to access information easily to change their plans.”
Accommodation providers across Wales are being encouraged to publicise the app to visitors both before and when they arrive and it is also being promoted in key regional online and offline channels, including Bedroom Browsers and websites at local and national levels.
Val Hawkins, MWT’s chief executive, said the app would evolve as more information was added to it. “This is the start of the journey rather than the end,” she stressed, revealing that MWT hoped to develop an android phone version if funding could be found.
MWT’s chairman Anne Lloyd-Jones commended the months of work that had gone into the new app and mobile website to raise the profile of tourism in Wales.
“Both the app and mobile website are the result of an amazing effort by a dedicated, small team at Mid Wales Tourism,” she said. “The fact that they are ready for the start of the tourist season is great news for the industry in Wales.”