After 8 weeks of StartIT academy, a mobile application that will digitize all beaches in Croatia has been created.
Plaja – Beach Finder is free mobile app available for Android and iOS devices created by Dejan Grepo.
The mobile application has already been downloaded over 1000 times since its release at the end of January.
“I came up with the idea for a mobile application that would show all the beaches in your area after many years working in tourism (15 years) because of the most common question of each guest during the first contact with a tourist worker is where is the beach?,” Grepo explained to us, before adding.
“Extensive research was done with tourist boards and all types of tourist workers from Dubrovnik to Pula and everyone agreed that guests most often ask this question in 70% of cases. Statistics also show that in 75% of all tourist stays in Croatia, as well as in the world, are realised during the summer.”
The answer to the question ‘where is the beach’ so far has been offered through printed maps that are impractical to explain and navigate and huge amounts are spent to answer just that one question, given that Croatia is visited, before the pandemic of course, by over 18 million foreign guests a year.
The Plaja – Beach Finder mobile app shows you the nearest beaches, beach-related news and weather, depending on your current location.
Using the mobile application, you can search beaches by map, category, or 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 according your current location.
In agreement with the Association of Persons with Disabilities, the category of beaches for persons with disabilities has been added, so that for the first time they will have an insight into the beaches that are accessible to them with appropriate facilities.
For each beach there is a detailed description entered by the local Tourist Board as well as their location, content and pictures. With the navigation option, there is an option that you can virtually view each beach via 360 View.
The user can leave a comment as well as a rating for each beach, and creating a ranking by quality.
“A very important feature of the mobile application is that it can be used in offline mode, that navigation to the beaches can be done without an Internet signal, which will greatly help especially foreign guests who visit our coast,” Grepo said.
Tourist Boards also have the opportunity to contact all users of the mobile application about events in their area.
“An interesting finding during the 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, even up to 3 times, which puts us at the top in the number of beaches not only in Europe but throughout the whole world. Beaches are entered daily at the request of tourist boards, and we already have beaches entered in all counties in Croatia, and full entry is expected in the middle of May. In one month, we successfully digitized over 15% of the Croatian coast in cooperation with the Tourist Boards,” Grepo added.
The signing of a cooperation agreement with the Tourist Boards on the coast is underway, which has recognized the potential and need for such a mobile application and they accepting it as a tool for providing answers to the guest in the upcoming season.
The Plaja – Beach Finder mobile application has potential for the international market, and is being prepared for presentation at tourism fairs as a Croatian product for all tourist destinations on the coast, Dejan Grepo points out.
“We are also arranging cooperation to present the mobile application in the Croatia Full Off New Beginnings campaign under the auspices of the Croatian National Tourist Board for the 2021 season. The potential of the mobile application was also recognized by the University of Split, which gave us space to work in the most modern newly opened Technology Park in Split.”
The app creator says that after 1000 years of using paper maps, he believes that the time has come to use the digital technological possibilities that are available to all of us today on our mobile phones, and to make our lives easier.
“We invite all Tourist Boards on the Croatian coast to get involved in the process of digitizing beaches using the mobile application Plaja – Beach Finder and save time and money and provide guests much better answer on the question where is the beach,” he concludes.