City of Porto: promoting tourism through satnav applications

The organisation

Porto is the second largest city of Portugal and one of the oldest urban centres in Europe. Its Tourism Department is in charge of making available information to orientate visitors through the city’s many sites of cultural interest, while seeking for opportunities and partnerships to increase the cost-effectiveness of measures to promote Porto’s heritage with locals and foreign tourists. The Tourism Department also offers a tourist information web portal that includes a special section dedicated to mobile applications for smartphones and tablets.

The challenge

Today, tourists tend to travel more frequently than in the past and for shorter periods of time. Traditional means of planning holidays and guiding visitors are not sufficiently flexible to adapt to the needs of such “touch-and-go” tourists, often needing precise and relevant information on the spot during such brief holidays. Statistics on the profiles of short-stay visitors revealed that they tend to have a high level of education and income and are familiar with technology and innovative applications. The latter finding encouraged the Tourism Department to investigate the potential of mobile applications.

The satellite solution

The Municipality partnered with the private company LatitudeN in developing “Farol Porto”, a travel application relying on Porto tourist information. Tourists can download “Farol Porto” on their smartphones and access geo-localised information and tips during short trips, with no need for extensive planning. The mobile application generates fully personalised tours, adapted to the user’s interests and available time, and alerts the tourist of places worth seeing in real time, according to their proximity.

The result

Farol Porto became the official city guide in 2011. It makes the web portal more effective and easy to use on the go, and matches the needs of short-term tourists, enabling them to make the most of their time in Porto without having to carry around paper maps and guides. The Tourism Department recognises the value added by the application, which contributes to enhancing the Porto brand. According to the data provided by LatitudeN, Farol Porto has been downloaded over 2 000 times.

“The mobile city guide increases the offer of the Porto’s Tourism Department meeting the demand of visitors in an innovative way.”