Latest app for local, foreign tourists: ‘Heritage Sri Lanka’
By Eunice Ruth
‘Heritage Sri Lanka’ is an application which can provide accurate information regarding archaeological sites in Sri Lanka to both local and foreign tourists.
The programme head of Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), Shriyananda Ratnayake, said the objective of the project was to improve tourists’ access to correct information and satisfaction on heritage sites through a comprehensive digital source to raise Sri Lanka’s standard on heritage destinations, he said. This application will benefit both the users, as well as the country by increasing tourist arrival and revenue, and it will also promote Sri Lanka as a ‘Heritage Destination’.
At present, in Sri Lanka, we have limited information sources which are available for accessing on heritage sites and ruins, with the help of tour guides. However, information seekers, students, researchers and other interested parties on heritage sites are facing difficulties with scattered information, limited access to information and accuracy of the information, he noted. He further pointed that there were several instances where the information’s regarding the heritage sites were passed incorrectly to the information seeker and currently, the Archeological Department of Sri Lanka has no digitalised content which includes the history or background regarding a particular heritage site or monument.
He said that, this project develops and implements a content management system with mobile applications and web applications which will provide location-based all the information regarding the site for interested people on their points of interest.
However, with the introduction of this new app, people can access this application in all three languages with accurate information and it will be available for both android and iOS operating systems. He added that, it will also help students, researchers and local businesses to find accurate information regarding the heritage sites in Sri Lanka and the details regarding a particular monument can be accessed, read and heard by scanning the unique QR code which was established at the site.
“This mobile and web application includes text content, audio contents, photographs and geo location data on heritage sites and monuments. Currently, this application covers heritage sites identified in Polonnaruwa District only. However, the project team is expecting to further extend the number of sites integrated in the application, covering all the Districts in Sri Lanka in the near future. Information on nearly 206 sites are included in the application and they are from the Polonnaruwa district. Digital content of another 250 heritage sites with 430 monuments are expected to be added as the next step of the development process. Collecting accurate information regarding a historical site is not an easy task and soon we will collect and update information for public use,” said Shriyananda.
While explaining about the process of the app, he said the public could log in by registering on the application with their email address and by creating a unique password for their account. Also, the application has the feature to create the account by syncing with face book or Google account and also people can access limited features by accessing the application as a guest user. He said, after logging into the app, tourists, students or researchers can access different type of services including the details and content of the heritage site, location and duration to travel details, AR viewer of the location, QR code scanning regarding the monument detail, ticket bookings and my profile option which will contain name, email address, mobile number and e-ticket history. e-tickets are tickets which we purchase at the entrance of a heritage site and this can be done using this app. People can book tickets by selecting the heritage site, visitor type (local or foreign) and age group (child or adult). The app will automatically generate the price according to the age category and by clicking on the ‘buy’ button, the public could buy their e-tickets even before visiting the site.
It was developed by ICTA in collaboration with the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs. The demonstration and introduction of the application was conducted on 15 February and it is expected to be launched by March with the participation of the Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, he said.
The stakeholders of this programme are the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs, Department of Archaeology, Central Cultural Fund, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Department of National Museums and Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO.