Rwandan techies are exploring the use of digital platforms to enhance tourism experience and marketing for the sector players in the country.
Patrick Karangwa, the chief executive officer of the Rwandan tech firm Kigali360, has developed virtual digital platform that allows a tourist to have a virtual tour and 360-degree street views of Rwanda by using a phone or computer.
“We use photos of existing tourist hotspots which allow one to see and interact with them by being able to see in front, rear and the backward side, which enables a tourist to decide their visits before making a booking,” Karangwa said, adding that the platform can help tourists book a tour to the site where they have virtually visited.
The company also added a live guide tours function to communicate with the tourists so as to bridge the physical gap.
The 32-year-old came up with the idea of virtual digital tourism platform in 2019 and its first trial was in this March. Since then the trials have been done on a few hotels, real estates and tour guide companies.
The company plans to charge a small percentage of booking fees paid through the platform in the future and can also provide the service through the company’s own Internet space to those who don’t have their own spaces to host the platform.
Samuel Amani, another Rwandan techie, is developing a digital system seeking to make the tour more entertaining, bolster domestic tourism and attract online consumers.
He seeks to improve the experience of the Kigali sightseeing bus which was launched in March last year, through using the high quality 3D model depicting how the capital city looked like in the past.
The bus could be equipped with virtual reality (VR) glasses. While tourists are touring the city, virtual reality (VR) headsets equipped on the bus can display an immersive 3D replica of ancient Kigali.
According to Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), use of digital tourism platforms would supplement other mechanisms in enhancing marketing of tourism for sector players.
Exploring all IT solutions for the hospitality and tourism industry is “needed” and RDB wants to see more revolutionary ideas in ICT, Kariza said in comments during a virtual press conference last Friday.
The landlocked country has embarked on domestic tourism promotion, encouraging Rwandans to visit the country’s main tourist attractions, RDB said last Friday. RDB will continue to intensify its marketing and promotion efforts to encourage domestic tourists to explore the different attractions around the country, it said.