Digitization in Tourism - Adventures in 3D, AR and 360°

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Digitization in tourism offers a large field of innovative ideas. It's not just about intelligent booking systems, navigation apps and digital 360° tours of museums. Truly innovative solutions create entirely new experiences by using technology to bring existing destinations to life in a completely new way.

Digitization has been a huge topic in education, administration, and even travel, and not just since the pandemic. Digitization in tourism offers a large field of innovative ideas. It's not just about intelligent booking systems, map apps and digital 360° tours of museums. Truly innovative solutions create entirely new experiences by using technology to bring existing destinations to life in a completely new way. A good example is offered by the dinosaur trail "Trixi Trias" at Jenzig in Jena. Here, an already existing geological hiking trail was upgraded by an app with audio guide, augmented reality (AR) stations and 360° panoramas - topic: dinosaurs and earth history. The aim was to attract families to the countryside, to impart knowledge and also to get a younger target group excited about hiking and nature again. The experiment has been a success: children, parents and grandparents can now project dinosaurs in AR lifelike in front of them and view the area around Jena during the Ice Age at the top of the mountain. The innovative project won the Thuringian Tourism Award in 2019.

3D Multi-App for the AR Discovery Trail "TrifelsErlebnisWeg"

Romantic castle ruins, mighty cliffs and the Palatinate Forest, which has been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve - the south of Rhineland-Palatinate is a popular destination. However, the supraregional awareness of the region still has room to grow. Therefore, the municipality of Annweiler am Trifels immediately took notice when it heard about the dinosaur trail "Trixi Trias" in Jena through the Thuringian Tourism Award. The plan was born to breathe new life into the medieval town of Annweiler and the 3.6 km hiking trail up to Trifels Castle with digital elements. The result is a so-called multi-app with which two different trails can now be discovered digitally: the TrifelsErlebnisWeg and a city tour through Annweiler. In the fall, another hiking trail is to be added, the Chestnut Experience Trail. This is intended to boost tourism in the region and impart valuable knowledge about times gone by. The highlight: the "SÜW Erlebnis App" can also be used offline after downloading it from the app store. Thanks to an offline map function, the route with one's own location can still be viewed at any time.

The Features of the AR Tourism App at a Glance:

  • AR projections with and without markers
  • Audio guide
  • 360° panoramas
  • AR map with GPS
  • Comic visualizations in AR
  • Quiz with AR reward

History at Your Fingertips - AR Comic Characters for an Interactive Experience

Kinder Augmented Reality in Wald

In the Middle Ages, the Trifels region was an important political center. From here, kings and emperors made decisions that affected half of Europe. The SÜW Erlebnis App aims to provide information about this historical significance and life in the Middle Ages in general in an entertaining way. And what better way to appeal to families than with lovingly designed figures that provide a direct glimpse into the past? This is how the two animated comic characters Clara and Johann were created, who can be observed playing at four of the 18 stations in augmented reality. Our graphic artists have really outdone themselves here. With cheerful children's voices, the historical figures talk about their lives and impart exciting knowledge about life in the Middle Ages to children along the way. The audio guide with a narrator's voice that sounds like a fairy tale and adventure forms the framework of the app. This leads from station to station and conveys the historical information in an entertaining and family-friendly way - that's how digitization works in tourism.

A particularly impressive AR station awaits visitors on the way up to Trifels Castle, where a beautiful view over the town of Annweiler opens up. Here, an AR marker can be used to call up a 3D model of the medieval town, aligned with GPS, and marvel at it in detail. The direct comparison with today's city brings young and old alike to marvel. A climbing wall with picnic seating, a wobbly bridge and a slide invite visitors to linger and play along the way, turning the digital experience into a real one as well.

Medieval quiz with AR surprise

Another special feature of the app is the quiz: ten questions have to be answered on the way up to the castle. If at least seven of them are answered correctly, a great surprise is unlocked: A 3D model of Richard the Lionheart that you can project next to you in augmented reality and thus take a photo with a real knight. Why Richard the Lionheart? The English king was imprisoned for a short time at Trifels Castle in 1193. Why? And by whom? You can easily find out by visiting Annweiler am Trifels and simply trying out the app!
AR Projektion Richard Löwenherz Trifels

Digitizing Destinations and Addressing New Target Groups

The classic avid hiker and culture fan can excellently enjoy a trip into the countryside peppered with historical education, even without digital incentives. The target audience for an app like the SÜW Erlebnis App is families and younger people who are looking for an eventful destination for a weekend getaway. These people will not simply be looking for a scenic area with interesting history, but specifically for a fun destination for families. So by having a tourism app like the SÜW Erlebnis App that makes an already worthwhile destination even more interesting and more public attention is generated.

The Advantages of Tourism Apps at a Glance:

  • Tapping into new target groups
  • More public attention
  • Enhance hiking trails and nature trails as destinations
  • Create interest in culture and nature
  • Encourage entertaining knowledge transfer

This project on digitization in the tourism sector has been a lot of fun and we are looking forward to many more tourism projects that we can breathe new life into using 3D technology!

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