Thursday, August 9, 2012

Indigenous Tourism Apps – can they assist with bridging the digital divide?

The CES team works with indigenous and rural communities across Canada and abroad to develop unique community economic development opportunities using tourism as a catalyst. In this age of technology, linking traditions with technology has become a critical aspect of community-based tourism development. 

CES’s TechTours is a downloadable tourism app for smartphones that provides an interactive storytelling experience using audio, video, Augmented Reality (AR) and GPS triggered technologies. The stories are captured on the ground by community Elders, leaders, youth ambassadors, and local guides, creating ownership and community pride. The stories are the foundation of the product and it is enhanced by innovative technology.

Since the majority of our clients live in remote communities, often they don’t pursue this product because of challenges accessing information technology or funding, or they are unfamiliar with the benefits and how to use the technology. This is known as the digital divide – the gap between those that have access to information technologies and those that don’t. 

So how can we bridge this digital divide? I just watched Aleph Molinari’s Ted Talk presentation on bridging the digital divide and was happy to see innovative companies such as RIA (Red de Innovación y Aprendizaje) empowering the digitally excluded by giving them access to computers and the know-how to use them. RIA is a group of education centres that offers members of underserved communities in Mexico access to computers, the Internet and quality education. 

The Internet and access to computers is a necessity in the 21st century in order for communities and entrepreneurs to prosper. It is important to support organizations like RIA that provide these services. Access alone won’t help a community move forward, but when combined with the education on how to use it and how to create unique economic development opportunities it will create sustainable benefits. 

The XI Indigenous Nations Games in Brazil

As part of the development process of TechTours, the CES team works on the ground with community members empowering them to use the app and measure the results. If access to information technology and funding is an issue for your community, CES can assist with securing development funds and/or connecting you with an organization such as RIA.

Contact Amanda at or at 1-877-444-5550 if your community wants to explore unique economic development opportunities using mobile technology.

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