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Hamilton Economic Development

Tourism Hamilton has an app for that

tourism app photowebHamilton tourists are only a click away to unlocking the city’s hidden secrets.

Tourism officials unveiled, Oct. 3, the city’s new tourism app for iPhone, iPad, and iPad touch devices that reveals destinations, events, shopping, and restaurants, throughout the city. The app will be available to download free beginning Oct. 4.

“This is not only a functional tool,” said Sue Monarch, acting manager at Tourism Hamilton. “It’s an experience. It will provide people with information whenever they need it.”

The app opens up with a rotating video series of Hamilton locations. It then identifies places to stay, what to do, where to eat, and opportunities to choose favourite items, by clicking on an icon. There are also icons for events that are happening, the ability to search for specific concerts, and Tourism Hamilton staff has provided itineraries for the interested traveler, such as the War of 1812.

“The goal is to identify the user on a map and see what is available around them,” said Andy Zimmerman, e-marketing coordinator.

The app doesn’t work for blackberries, said Monarch. She said about 95 per cent of the people who visit tourismhamilton.com are Apple users. The next phase, she said, is to create remodel the app for Android users.

The cost for the Visit Hamilton app was $30,000, plus “significant in-kind partnership,” with a local Locke Street business, Factor(e) Design Initaitive, a design web, multi-media company, , which the city used for the project. She said the entire funding came from the province’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The province provided the city with about $200,000 for marketing.

“For the taxpayers of Hamilton, it was win-win,” she said. “This project was outside the box.”

The introduction of the app, and the presentation at the government issues committee Oct. 3, had councillors giddy with enthusiasm.

“This is fantastic stuff,” said Ward 2 councillor Brian McHattie.

“I can’t believe it,” said Stoney Creek councillor Brenda Johnson.

Even Ward 6 councillor Tom Jackson found himself applauding the accomplishment.

“I was even impressed,” he said. “This is the type of stuff that we expected (after taking over Tourism Hamilton).”

TourismHamiltonofficials were looking for a splash after council earlier this year agreed to dissolve the Tourism Hamilton board, and have the city absorb the staff and organization into its economic development and planning department. In April, Tourism Hamilton took over the second floor of the remodeled Lister Block. On April 13, the Tourism Hamilton visitor’s centre opened on the ground floor to great fanfare.

Article courtesy of Hamilton Community News

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