QR codes a range of possibilities for tourism

QR Codes is a practical marketing tool, very easy and very cheap
Taking “Tapas” in San Sebastian Bask Country and see the ingredients both in  French or English, find an original find a mosaic in the cobbled streets of Lisbon and  uploadded  tourist information and photos about the city, or visit the Miro Foundation and easy get  information about the work scope and the  painter … and all this just approaching your phone closer to a code to read it.  These are some of the advantages of the QR codes


There are many ways of relating to our client, but looking at consumer trends, we have to be especially outstanding those based on interaction with the mobile phone.

A QRcode  (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode, that record information related to the item. Wikipedia

How does it work?

This barcode can be read by any multimedia device with camera,  from a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop or via a barcode reader, . When we approach our screens just to read them or scan the code. To do this we had to get previously an application .

The QR code and allows us to automatically access information that has been previously saved, usually what you do is direct us  to a URL or webpage. No need to type or write anything on our phone.

Andalusía, in southern Spain is a region that is also betting on technological advances in order to develop and renew its tourism industry. It is explained on their website http://andaluciaqr.com/  how this codes  work 

While in Spain, this is not a widespread option even if it is in some Asian countries, especially in Japan, where they were invented.  QR codes are a cheap marketing tool with many possibilities. Eg airlines are using them for several years for electronic ticketing. They also allow us to check in without wasting paper.

In our case as tourism enterprises applications that have been given to these bar codes, so far, are mostly aimed to be interactive tourist information system on arrival or destination.

Within the route and monuments signboards, we can find such codes in the historic center of Badalona in Catalonia, where can we see in each of the 13 breakpoints, a picture of the place, a map with all the routes to be taken and the contents in four languages (Catalan, Castilian, French and English). Similar applications are in a  route by Oliva in Valencia and  also in Teruel Spain inside, where they  join the rural and ecological tourism  with technology.

Lisbon  in Portugal, have also decided to use this type of code, combining art and tradition with new technologies. Thereby  we can find an original mosaic in Chiado Distric. It’s  one square meter, and maintains the style of the typical Roman mosaics inspired seventeenth century, but simply by pointing your smartphone to the set of tiles, provides us with local tourist information in English and Portuguese.

Referring to the world of museums and exhibitions, QR codes become true guidelines that complement the  audioguide, providing a wealth of information in several languages. The first use was the Derby Museum and Art Gallery  in the UK, but fortunately in widespread use, for example in Spain they can be found in the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona  among others.

One advantage of these codes is that they allow access to tourist information anywhere and at any time, so we can relate to the traveler otherwise offering him a more active role.

Go to eat “Pintxos” in San Sebastian, it has also become a different experience. Some bars of Oldtown in  San Sebastian, lke the bar-Restaurante Txalupa, have learned to use QR codes with their cuisine, to give it an give value added. QR codes let you know in several languages pintxo ingredients, score it or give  a review  via twitter, connecting so well with social networking.

A very fun thing, but does not come directly from the world of tourism is the QR Music Festival in Madrid. Last year in Malasaña created a pooled festival where they joined, music, technology and entertainment. You can see the operation as described themselves in this sketch.

This initiative and others like it have been carried out in other cities like Valencia and Bilbao, and can help the tourism and economic development of small businesses in the Old Town, offering alternative cultural, culinary, etc and of course as attractive tourist.

I think they are a very useful tool and very low cost. What do you think?


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