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Hunt on for top SA tourism app

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With tourists increasingly using their mobile devices to plan their travels, Visa and South African Tourism have thrown down a challenge to developers across sub-Saharan Africa to build the best travel app for the region’s burgeoning tourism industry.

The Africa App Quest, which was launched at the E-Tourism Summit in Cape Town last week, aims to get regional developers building authentically African apps to capitalise on the continent’s growing popularity as a global tourist destination.

SA Tourism estimates that a third of all travellers have a travel-related app on their smartphones, which they use to book travel, find tourist attractions and share experiences via social media. Google says the number of mobile users researching travel on their mobile devices will grow by more than 50 percent in 2012 alone.

‚”There are hundreds of international travel apps out there, but we think this is a great opportunity to create homegrown apps that really capture the feel of Africa and enhance the tourist experience of the continent,‚” said Claire Olverman, Head of Cross-Border Marketing for Visa Sub-Saharan Africa.

The competition encourages developers to create apps for any mobile device or platform, including iOS, Android and Windows. They also have free rein when it comes to the purpose of the apps, says Olverman. Entries can include anything from online safari guides and urban directories to game spotting and recording apps, online booking and shopping tools, or apps interpreting local culture.

SA Tourism’s William Price says the Africa App Quest is ‚”hugely exciting‚” for both developers and the broader tourism sector.

‚”Technology is critically important to the success of the tourism sector, and this is a great opportunity for local developers to write apps that could potentially reach a massive global market,‚” he said.

The Africa App Quest will go live on 1 January 2013 on the E-Tourism Frontiers website www.e-tourismfrontiers.com. Competition rules and details around the main prize for the competition will be available when the site goes live, and there will also be a dedicated Facebook page that will give regular updates about the competition.

The winner of the Visa Africa App Quest will be announced at the E-Tourism Africa Summit in September 2013.

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