Sample crop of the main image. PHOTO: Supplied
Sample crop of the main image. PHOTO: Supplied
App and Google Store logo: PHOTO: Supplied
App and Google Store logo: PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - A recently launched global online travel platform which will empower small, local travel establishments across the African continent, is a fresh approach which demonstrates the power of new technology to drive positive business change for smaller, local business operators.

This is according to Dr Charl du Plessis of South African-based Chapel Lane Media, who stated that small, local travel establishments across the continent were highly reliant on foreign-based bookings portals to secure a steady flow of guests.

“In return, they pay a considerable percentage of their revenue in booking commissions to such portals.”

The free Seychelles Ahoy! App is an innovative platform that links small businesses in that region directly with potential visitors.

According to Du Plessis, with the mobile market now dominating the digital universe, the demand for compact, informative and high-functioning travel Apps keeps growing exponentially.

“Traditionally, prospective visitors to Seychelles, as with many other destinations, would go through a three-step process, going online to learn more about what the islands can offer, booking their trip through an agent or online portal, and using travel guides upon arrival to get the most out of their trip,” he said.

“The free-to-download Seychelles Ahoy! App, recently launched globally, addresses all these travellers' needs in one App. Available on both the iOS and Android platforms, the App has a high visual appeal and an easy-to-use flow of logic that speaks to both the high-end luxury travel market, as well as to the more independent or cost-conscious traveller, an important growth segment for the future of tourism in the region. The speed of using the App compared to more traditional web-searches is phenomenal,” added Du Plessis.

He said one of many other exciting features of the App is its location-based functionality, always showing travellers what is nearest to them. Whether searching for attractions, a supermarket, laundromat or the closest bus stop or ATM, the App displays the nearest available options, with the distance to the outlet and the mapped route.  

“For the smaller tourism enterprise, burdened with high commissions payable to foreign-based booking platforms, a free listing on this App now creates a direct link between the traveller and the owner of the business’ own email, website and social media platforms, cutting out the expensive intermediator and putting more money back into the pockets of smaller local businesses,” Du Plessis said, adding that the developers of the App were in discussion with the official tourism agencies of several African destinations to develop similar solutions for their local enterprises.

The Seychelles Ahoy! App is the brainchild of South African media house Chapel Lane Media, working with their group of developers. There are no in-app purchases required from the user, and the launch version is available in English and French.

Dr Tanya Goodman of Chapel Lane Media said: “We wanted to celebrate the colourful history of the Seychelles, with its pirates and the spirit of pioneers when we had to decide on a name for the App.

“The cultural diversity of the islands and the appeal to markets all over the world further demanded a name that was not unique to any particular language. Thanks to blockbuster movies like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ we felt that using the ‘Ahoy’ phrase, meaning ‘Hallo’, would resonate anywhere in the world,” Goodman said.

To download the free App, simply search for Seychelles Ahoy! in the App Store or Google Play.

- African News Agency (ANA)