Photo by Curt Yeomans: The Georgia Department of Economic Development announced this week that it has launched a new “mobile” version of the state tourism web site, ExploreGeorgia.org, for smart phones and other mobile devices.
Do you want to find out what travel destinations there are in Georgia, but you only have Internet access through your smart phone?
There’s a mobile web site for that.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development announced this week that it has launched a new “mobile” version of the state’s tourism web site, ExploreGeorgia.org/.
Mobile web sites are versions of traditional web sites which have been adapted to be viewable via mobile devices, such as smart phones, or iPod Touches with wireless Internet access.
State economic development officials said, in a written news release, that the content of the new mobile tourism web site is designed to be “interactive” and “engaging,” while providing users with “real-time, trip-planning information.”
The content of the mobile web site is the same information that people can find by using the “Explore Georgia” web site on a traditional computer, officials said.
“In order for Georgia to remain competitive in the current marketplace, we believed it was time to upgrade and expand our mobile presence,” said Kevin Langston, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s deputy commissioner for tourism, in a written statement.
With the new mobile tourism web site, state officials are targeting a large audience of people who use smart phones for information-gathering purposes. There are more than 73.6 million Americans, who use mobile devices, such as smart phones, to access information, according to the state’s news release.
The main page of the mobile web site allows users to quickly search for places to stay, see special offers, view a list of things to do across the state, and even search for attractions and events by city, or county.
Other features on the mobile web site, according to state officials, include access to Georgia’s social media tools, trip-planning tools, images of sites from around the state, streaming video, and maps.
Tourism groups from across the state will also be able to buy banner ad space on the mobile web site to promote their destinations.
“We wanted to give visitors the ExploreGeorgia.org experience in the palm of their hands, so they can easily and quickly find events, attractions, accommodations, special offers and more, on the go,” Langston said.
Dozens of attractions in Clayton and Henry counties are featured on ExploreGeorgia.org, including Stately Oaks Plantation; the Arts Clayton Gallery; The Road to Tara Museum; the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve; Spivey Hall; The National Archives at Atlanta; Heritage Park; Nash Farm Battlefield; Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the Hampton Train Depot.
There are also several upcoming, local events listed on the web site, including Main Street McDonough program’s Santa Saturdays on the McDonough Square, in McDonough, and Arts Clayton’s Mistletoe Market, in Jonesboro.
Clayton County Economic Development Director Grant Wainscott said the state’s mobile tourism web site is a “significant step into the digital age” for Georgia. He explained that people driving through Clayton and Henry counties can now pull off to the side of the road, access the web site, and instantly find something to do in either county.
The mobile web site will be particularly attractive, and helpful to young, tech-savvy travelers, Wainscott said. “We’re finding that a lot of our visitors are mobile,” he said. “They are younger people, and people who are embracing mobile technology. It’s critical that we, as a state, keep up with this technology ...
They [travelers who use mobile technology] are planning their trips on their mobile devices, while they are here,” Wainscott added. “They are driving down the road, and they can pull out their mobile device, and within a matter of minutes, they have pulled up movie times, museum hours of operations and a list of places to eat. It’s going to be more and more important that we use mobile technology to reach people.”
And, for those people who are more familiar with the use of “Apps” on a mobile device, it is possible to create an application button for the tourism web site, which will appear on the home screen of a mobile device.
On an iPod Touch, for instance, a person can go to ExploreGeorgia.org, on the device’s web browser, and an “+” symbol will appear at the bottom of the screen. The user can click on the “+”, and a list of options will appear on the screen. Clicking the “Add to Home Screen” option creates an “App” button on the main screen of the mobile device. Clicking on that button takes a person directly to the tourism web site.
So, in a way, one could say there is also an “App” for Georgia tourism.