Vívela offers touristic suggestions outside the classic circuits.
Tourism has changed. Visitors no longer want to meet only the classic monuments or historic sites, but to live new experiences and to know places trough local eyes. At least this is what believes Gonzalo Vega one of the creators of Vívela, an app that aims to connect all the people visiting Uruguay with different tours and offers in Montevideo and in the rest of the country.
With a past in the airline Pluna and working in different hostels, Vega and his partner find that tourists wanted different experiences. “Today, with internet, you have all the necessary information before your trip” -he explains- “So we looked for a personalized way to show the city, face to face with local people”.
The app is available in Google Play and iOS. In a few months Vívela collected more than 1000 downloads, 400 active users and offered more than 30 tours, including walks trough Montevideo’s rambla and Old City, bicycle promenades and also helicopter and plane tours.
Gonzalo Vega personally takes all the tours as a “quality control”. “We try to do it always and to meet the guides –we also hired an external consultancy, which took the tours and gave us advice- because every tour has a personal stamp”, says Vega who highlights the bicycle tours trough Peñarol neighborhood and the Old City free walking tours. The last allow the visitors to know first hand “details and stories”, and the first is special because it moves always from the traditional circuits.
“You have to stay away from the tourist guide syndrome” says Vega. “It’s cool that you are visiting a place and the guide says, “here my grandmother used to came to buy bread and one day she saw the Zeppelin passing near the Palacio Salvo”.
The tours offered by Vívela are used as well as by foreign tourists than by Uruguayans. Vega finds this logical, considering the importance of internal tourism for the country. “Now we have a Facebook store to improve interaction and community contact”– he says.
Anyway, he considers that the app has aspects to be improved and expanded. In November a new version will be released with a new and simpler design. And for the end of the year a web platform will be launched; something that is related with a change in technology interaction. “Before, to have an app was like to search for gold in California. Now people do not download and app if they don’t use before the web platform many times”.
Vívela has different supports, including The European Union, ANII, The Uruguayan Chamber of Information Technology and IBM, which supplies its artificial intelligence service Watson, which allows specific queries and a personalized help service.
For Vega the growth that the app experimented will remain constant if people get used to it.
“With food delivery services it was the same path. Now everybody uses them”.
Montevideo from above
Between all the services offered by Vívela is Fly, a company that offers helicopter and plane tours to see Montevideo from above. A helicopter flight with a maximum of three passengers and 30 minutes duration has a US$ 100 cost per person. Passengers choose the itinerary. Options include the shore, beaches and football stadiums, among others.
source: El Observador