iPlaya: Uruguay Tourism Campaign Merges Smartphones and Digital Cards

Patrick Archer creative class, lifestyle, technology, tourism, uruguay

The Uruguay department of Rocha, home to seaside towns like La Paloma and some of Uruguay’s most beautiful beaches, will be the first tourist destination in South America to experiment with a revolutionary new tourism information campaign.

With summer vacations just now heating up in Uruguay, Rocha officials are distributing digital multimedia cards loaded with information about tourist destinations, hotels, restaurants and beaches in La Paloma, La Pedrera, Cabo Polonio, Valizas, Punta del Diablo and Chuy. The information can be viewed and downloaded by simply zapping the card’s QR code with an iPhone or Blackberry. Non-smartphone users can access the same information by entering their card number on any computer.

Rocha purchased 20,000 of these multimedia cards, of which roughly half are already in the pockets, purses and wallets of Uruguay tourists, according to Eduardo Gonzalez of El Pais. According to the manufacturer’s website, the cards many benefits including low cost (less expensive than printing brochures or burning DVDs), legitimacy (all of the content has been authorized by the owner of the intellectual property), and environmental responsibility (reducing the waste and clutter of thousands of printed brochures).

The Uruguay smart card campaign comes on the heels of the Uruguay 360 virtual tours launch and a strong showing by UruguayNatural at the 2011 International Tourism Fair. All of these high-tech, high-touch efforts combined are what sets Uruguay on pace for 3 million visitors and a continuing Case Study for Tourism Growth. (Full Story in Spanish)