18 May 2006
A South African company has become the first in the world to successfully launch a dedicated tourism radio station.
Tourism Radio, launched in Cape Town earlier this month, offers international visitors a convenient, inexpensive way to gather the information they need about the country as they travel through it.
The innovative service uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, installed in rental cars, to track the movements of its users, giving them information relevant to the particular area they are driving through.
Once a visitor opts to include Tourism Radio in their hired car – for as little as R10 to R15 a day – they simply tune in to Tourism Radio on 90.2FM to get cultural, historical and anecdotal information, as well as updates on nearby attractions and shows.
“What this means in practical terms is that if you’re in Cape Town, you learn about the development of the Mother City, and when you drive to Stellenbosch, the focus of the broadcast travels with you … it’s that easy,” says Tourism Radio founder and operations director Mark Allewell.
Pre-recorded shows focusing on local music, typical South African slang and the like are interrupted with up to date travel and weather reports or – if the visitor drives through an area of importance – with information about that area.
“It’s like having a local person there in your car,” says Allewell.
Tourism Radio spent the best part of two years developing its system, as well as eight months compiling all the relevant information.
According to Allewell, the pilot service in Cape Town will be followed by a nationwide launch by the end of 2006 – and could be exported, with partner firms Budget and National Alamo Car Rental spreading the word to their international car rental network.
“With partners like Vodacom, Budget and National Alamo helping us expand through South Africa and the world, we are very excited about our next stage of growth.”
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