Plaja-Beach Finder: Croatian App to Digitalise All of Country’s Beaches

Lauren Simmonds

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As Morski/Jurica Gaspar writes, after eight weeks of the StartIT academy, a mobile application was created that will digitalise all beaches in Croatia. The Plaja-Beach Finder mobile app has been available for download since January the 24th this year, and has been downloaded more than a thousand times so far.

”I initially came up with the idea for a mobile application that would showcase all the beaches near you, I thought it up after many years in tourism (more specifically fifteen years) because of the most common question asked by each guest during their very first contact with a tourist worker – where is the beach?” Dejan Grepo said.

Croatian Tourist boards continue to spend money on the totally unnecessary printing of maps

Extensive research has been done with tourist boards and all types of tourism workers from down in Dubrovnik all the way up to Pula and everyone has agreed with the same thing; guests ask this question more than they do anything else.

The answer to the question of where the beach is so far has been offered through paper printed maps that are impractical, wasteful and cause complication in explaining a very, very simple answer to the millions of foreign visitors Croatia receives each and every summer season.

”The Plaja-Beach Finder mobile app works to show you the nearest beaches, beach-related news and weather forecasts, depending on your current location. Using this Croatian mobile app, you can search beaches by map, category, ie type of beach (sandy, pebble, nudist…) or by search engine to simply enter the name of the beach, city, place or by radius by specifying the radius in which you want to search beaches your current location,” explaind the creator of the application.

Croatia actually has three times more beaches than we think it has…

In agreement with the Association of Persons with Disabilities, the category of beaches for persons with disabilities has also been added into the app, so for the first time they will have an insight into the beaches that are accessible to them with all of the appropriate facilities.

”For each beach there is a detailed description entered by the Tourist Board, as well as their location, content on offer and pictures. In addition to the navigation option, there is an option via which you can virtually view each beach via 360 View. The user can leave a comment as well as a rating for each beach, thus creating a ranking by quality, which greatly facilitates how people choose the most suitable beaches for their needs and wants,” the app’s creator added.

A very important feature of the Plaja-Beach Finder mobile application is that it can be used in Offline mode too, meaning that accurate navigation to chosen beaches can be used without the need for an Internet signal, which will greatly help people out, especially foreign guests who visit the coast.

Tourist Boards have the opportunity to contact all users of the mobile application about events in their area.

”An interesting finding during the undertaken research is that in the Croatian Register of Beaches there are about 1600 beach locations, but with my detailed research this number is actually much higher, there are even up to three times more beaches than we think there are, which puts us at the very top in the number of beaches not only in Europe but throughout the whole world,” said Grepo.

”New beaches are entered daily at the request of local tourist boards, we already have beaches in all counties across Croatia and total entry is expected in the middle of May,” he continued, adding that in just one month they’ve successfully digitalised over 15 percent of the Croatian coast in cooperation with numerous local tourist boards up and down the coastline.

The signing of a cooperation agreement is underway with the tourist boards on the coast, which have recognised the potential and need for the Plaja-Beach Finder mobile app and accept it as a tool for providing answers to visitors in the upcoming tourist season.

”The Plaja0Beach Finder mobile app also has potential for the international market, it’s being prepared for presentation at tourism fairs in London and Berlin as a Croatian product intended for all tourist destinations on the coast. We’re also arranging cooperation to present the mobile app in the Croatia Full Off New Beginings campaign under the auspices of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) for the 2021 season. The potential of the mobile app was also recognised by the University of Split, which gave us space to work in the most modern newly opened Technology Park in Split. After 1000 years of using paper maps, I believe that the time has come to use the digital technological possibilities that are available to all of us today on our mobile phones, and thus make our lives easier,” concluded the app’s creator, Dejan Grepo.

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