How can you get more young people interested in visiting the Nordic alpine tundra region? This is a challenge for a number of tourism associations across Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. In the YOUSAT project a new approach to this challenge is tried, involving mobile phones and social networks such as Facebook: A new mobile service is being designed which invites travellers to share their experiences with friends, on the "road", and at the same time leaving a trail of local recommendations behind for others to pick up.
The YOUSAT project will invent and study new mobile solutions to support interactive exploration of nature-based tourism, including applications tailored to younger generation tourists. Four Nordic tourism associations collaborate in the project together with SICS, a research institute, Idevio AB, a map technology company, and Tampere University. Together they will create a new service that not only makes it easy to share travel experiences via the mobile phone, but also to find interesting local recommendations.
Today you can share photos on the Internet and keep friends up-to-date with what is happening on your vacation using existing social networks. Other websites focus on travel recommendations and finding selected walks. The YOUSAT project will create a new service that combines the best from both of these approaches, the ability to share what you experience and let others find these places. Experiences from previous visitors are easily accessed via mobile phone, based on the current position, while at the same time friends are kept up-to-date and new recommendations are created. To answer the question how to get more young people interested the project will study the influences of the service created. Hopefully shared experiences from people exploring the arctic tundra can attract more people to try this kind of tourism, especially as they are now able to find the exact spots their friends are recommending.
The project has recently started and is currently carrying out user studies as well as implementing some early prototypes based on early findings. It is a collaboration between SICS - Swedish Institute of Computer Science AB, Idevio AB, Tampere University, Svenska Turistföreningen, Trondhjems Turistforening, Suomen Latu, and Þróunarfélagi Austurlands. The Nordic Innovation Centre in Oslo finances half of the project within their program "Innovation in the Nordic Tourism Sector - New Products and Services"
Read more about the project, see where it travels and share the experience on the project website, Facebook and Twitter.