"Albufeira Online" is the name of the project that the Municipality of Albufeira is developing, with a view to endowing the historic center of the city and the areas of greatest tourist flow of the municipality with free internet access, through the installation of a set of infrastructures that aim to provide signal wifi quality, with a capacity to respond, especially to maximum peaks in the use of public space.
With this initiative, the Autarchy intends to create new forms of interaction with residents and tourists, providing a communication channel online, accessible and with specialized information – an innovative project to promote tourism, modernize access to information and simplify the services provided.
The solution includes a mobile application (APP) that integrates a wide range of information with tourist interest (attractions, events, museums, beaches, accommodation, catering, transportation network, services, among others) aimed at improving the visitor experience before , during and after their stay. This is an application user friendly, based on easy and intuitive navigation logic, which allows the user to obtain the desired information with a minimum of clicks. It is characterized by being a multiplatform, which can be used by all operating systems: IOS, Android and Windows. Available in several languages, APP is integrated with the Content Management System of the site tourist promotion Visit Albufeira, which allows to have the information always updated and accessible automatically. At the same time, it has associated a geo-referencing system, which provides an interactive map with the location of tourist sights, services and tourist infrastructures of the county, including augmented reality functionality for gathering information through the use of smartphone. The user also has at his disposal a form for sending information or presenting suggestions, having the possibility of leaving his address email for future contact.
The Mayor of Albufeira points out that "in the digital age, quick and simple access to relevant information content is an essential condition for decision-making, both as regards the choice and organization of the tourist visit and the creation of more favorable conditions for the emergence of new businesses. José Carlos Rolo justifies that being Albufeira "a municipality that gathers about 40% of the tourist offer of the Algarve, which represents approximately 6 million nights a year, the solution is pertinent, innovative and contributes to boost the tourist activity and the economy of the council in its entirety ".
The Municipality defined as priority areas for the installation of the equipment of free access to the Internet the places that throughout the year receive a greater number of visitors, namely Praça da República, in the historical center, Church of Sant'Ana, Art Gallery Pintor Samora Barros, Largo Eng. Duarte Pacheco, Fishermen's Square, Fisherman's Beach, Olhos de Água and Paderne Castle.
The project called "Albufeira Online" has a total investment of 178,753.98 €, having received a contribution from Turismo de Portugal in the amount of 50 thousand euros, following the application submitted to the Support Line for the provision of Wi-Fi Networks of the Program Valorizar – Program to Support the Appreciation and Qualification of the Destination.
According to Turismo de Portugal, this Support Line was created in a context of increasing penetration of technology, new patterns of consumption, business models and forms of organization of society, with the awareness that simplicity and speed in access to informative content are increasingly relevant to tourists. In essence, it aims to "maximize the experience in Portugal, promoting the intelligent management of destinations and positioning tourism as a leader in the development of smart destinations, stimulating the companies to innovate in the relation with the client ".
This application allows the aggregation of content from various social networks worldwide, which will be made available on the official website of the Autarchy. The solution also includes a system for collecting statistics of visitors, namely by nationality, most visited pages, among other items, generating reports, whose information will contribute to a better management of the city and its resources, in a vision aligned with the project "smart cities".