A new guiding concept for cruise tourists was piloted in Hernesaari, Helsinki during August and September 2011. A guided route was built from the harbor to the city center. What made the route special, were the digital tags attached to the signposts – they allow people to access mobile services.
Over 250 international cruise-ships stop at Hernesaari harbor during the summer season. This means over 370 000 passengers. The problem is that many of them decide not to step out of the ship and see the city. Not to mention about the harsh environment the area of Hernesaari, controlled by the shipyards, offers at a first glance. There are residential plans for the area and bringing life to it is everyones interest. Through the guided path, we hoped to attract cruise passengers to get acquainted with the city of Helsinki.
The first guided path ran through Telakkakatu and Bulevardi to Erottaja and took around thirty minutes to walk through. Both larger boards and smaller sign plates marked the way. There are now plans to build two additional routes to the city center through Punavuori and Eira later on next year.
On the guided route, signs were equipped with NFC tags and 2D barcodes, through which visitors received information about points of interest along the way. The service can be accessed by mobile phone, either with a web browser of a phone, or a free application.
In a wider context, the project is an experiment of how digital identifiers (RFID, NFC) and digital tourist services can be conveniently combined in the city. Expanding the actual physical space with virtual services diversifies the experience of the surrounding city.
The pilot was realized in collaboration with the City of Helsinki Public Works Department, Tourist & Convention Bureau and Economic and Planning Center. The mobile route is produced by Bonwal, Whatamap and Adfore. The tags used in the signposts are designed by BOTH.