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Tourism group crossing the digital divide

Seeking partners to be featured on local travel app

By Keith Strange

8 months 21 days 15 hours ago |16 Views | | | Email | Print

With 40 million U.S. consumers planning their travels using tablets or smartphones, officials with the Tourism Partnership of Surry County are getting on the bandwagon.


And they’re looking for things to feature about Mount Airy and Surry County, said Jessica Icenhour Roberts, vice chair of the partnership and director of tourism and marketing for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.


Roberts announced recently that the partnership has formed a relationship with Our State magazine and are developing content for a smartphone app featuring places of interest in the county.


“We’re looking for partners to work with us and be a part of the app so it will represent the entire county,” she said Wednesday morning. “We’re wanting to feature lodging, wineries, area attractions, anything geared for the visitor and tourist.”


The app, Travel North Carolina, is free, and is available for Android devices and the iPhone.


It has been downloaded about 50,000 times, “and it keeps growing,” Roberts said. “It’s very easy to navigate and is really up to date. I use it when I travel in the state and I just love it.


“We hope that when someone searches Surry County, it will pull everything from local shopping, bed and breakfasts, food, just anything they want to know about what we have to offer,” she said.


And with the new trend of using digital technology to plan that weekend getaway or vacation, Roberts said it’s time Surry County got on board.


“I think the importance of moving in this direction is that’s how potential visitors are planning their travels now, so Surry County and the tourism partnership should be part of something like this,” she said. “People are increasingly planning on the go and they’re using apps these days like they used to use guide books. I want us to be ahead of the curve and be a part of it.”


Roberts said she already has “six to eight” businesses interested in being a part of the new app.


“If we get 10 partners working with us who will be featured on the app, it will cost them $560 a year,” she said. “If we get more people interested it will cost even less.”


Anyone who wants to be featured in the app should contact Roberts at 786-6116.


The app is available for download from Our State magazine’s website at http://ourstate.com/app/.


Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@civitasmedia.com or 719-1929.

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