A new piece of technology has gamified tourism opportunities in the Campbell River area.
The Campbell River Collection app was launched last week by Destination Campbell River. It’s being marketed as a “technology-enabled, passion-based travel program.”
“Whether you are an avid mountain biker or a foodie or a cold-water diver, you tend to gravitate towards destinations that have those experiences available and then the other experiences that are complementary to that if framed appropriately are often really appealing to those types of travellers that would be travelling for one passion-based motivation,” said Kristen Soder, Destination Campbell River’s executive director. “So really trying to get Campbell River and our area onto the radar of people who may not have considered us in the past.”
The app was designed using technology created by 468 Communications.
“Travellers are increasingly dependent on technology when they are away from home,” said Tim Fry, the company’s founder. “Instead of a distraction from the natural world, technology – properly applied – can act as a catalyst for deeper, more meaningful exploration of a destination.
“Because Destination Campbell River fundamentally understands how to strike this balance, the Collection app unlocks the unparalleled beauty of the region in a way that rewards visitors, residents and businesses alike.”
Similar technology was used in developing the BC Ale Trail app, which highlights craft brewery locations across the province.
The customizable off-the-shelf technology was appealing to Destination Campbell River because it could be altered to its needs.
“The beauty of having an off-the-shelf but customizable technology-based application is that we were really able to tweak it for our purposes and layer in some of that safety messaging as well, that was really important,” said Soder.
COVID-19 messages have been incorporated into the app to reflect current public health guidelines.
The app features lists of themed adventures called “collections” that are categorized into broad sections.
The idea is to change experiences over time, so it doesn’t get stale.
“We will always be adding and shuffling experiences within collections and also turning them off and on seasonally and curating them as we go,” said Soder. “This is meant to be a long-term commitment.”
To start, experiences include the Angler Collection, which features 11 experiences like the Discovery Pier, Riptide Marine Pub and Haig-Brown Heritage House; the Artisan Collection, which features seven experiences like the Campbell River Art Gallery and Stonehouse Teas; and the Photographer Collection, which features 10 photogenic locations including, Elk Falls and Rebecca Spit, among others.
More than 500 people have downloaded the app so far.
Users can collect virtual coins as they mark off each experience on the app. Those coins can later be redeemed for original swag from the visitor centre.
Soder is keeping the more exclusive options under wraps for now, but other options include stickers, drink cozies, pins, T-shirts and refillable growlers.
For those that are more analog with their travel habits, the visitor centre remains staffed and will still have hard copies of maps and other tourism materials.
Soder is hopeful that Campbell Riverites will download the app, explore its offerings and pass it along to their potential out-of-town visitors.
“We’re really encouraging locals to download it, play with it and use it to get their visiting friends and relatives out,” she says, “and just to rediscover some things that maybe they either haven’t tried before or haven’t thought about in a while.”
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