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The Africa App Quest kicked off in March this year. The competition was a challenge to developers across the continent, to build the strongest mobile travel app compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone, with the winner determined by who used technology to improve and increase travel in Africa best. Four finalists presented at this year’s E-Tourism Africa Summit, with real-time crowd-sourcing app for animal sightings – Wild Africa Live – taking the top spot.
In what was a rather short time frame from the start of the competition to deadline (roughly five months), over 70 entries duked it out for for the US$10 000 prize. The criteria took into account whether the entrant was an application, product or service used in the travel industry, or by tourists themselves. Judges included reps from E-Tourism Frontiers, South African Tourism, VISA, the Kenya Tourist Board, and TripAdvisor.
The final four, which presented to the audience at the summit included Cape Town-based Tourism Radio which provides location-based travel content, functioning as an audio tour guide; Pixshare, a photo-sharing social media tool; and ActivityBridge which is a real-time hotel and tour booking platform. All the finalists have offices in South Africa, although the idea for ActivityBridge was born in Rwanda.
Tourism Radio CEO Mark Allewell said, “We’re delighted just to have been given the opportunity to take part in this year’s Africa App Quest and are more than happy to claim the title as one of the top apps on the continent. As a Cape Town-based developer, we’re constantly looking for ways to showcase South African apps on a global scale, and we’re sure Wildlife Africa Live will be able to hold the torch high.”
The short time-frame of the competition meant that existing apps stood a better chance than those built from scratch, as is evident from the finalists. Allewell confirms that Tourism Radio will be improved for next year’s iteration, but rather than focus on mobile, he sees the future of travel in wearable computer platforms, such as Google Glass. “That is the future of travel, and the next evolutionary step for Tourism Radio.”