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President Mahinda Rajapaksa ushers Hambantota in to the Digital Realm through a City App

Hambantota City App: first of its kind to provide travellers and investors a ‘Window to Sri Lanka’


Coinciding with the opening day proceedings at the Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala, President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the Hambantota City App at a colourful evening ceremony held at the Airport premises in Mattala on the 18th of March. The App running on Windows 8 provides travellers and investors a complete guide to the emerging city of Hambantota poised to become the next economic hub of the nation.

The app unveiled by the President is the first of 15 cities that will be included in Microsoft Sri Lanka’s ‘Window to Sri Lanka’ App development exercise, in a bid to help position Sri Lanka as a tourist and investment destination of choice among locals as well as foreigners. His Excellency launched the App on a state of the art touch screen eWis computer, at the event.

The App also provides useful information about the economic potential of Hambantota, encompassing the rapid infrastructure developments taking place in the area and includes key information relevant to foreign investors such as airline schedules, business information and important contact details.

Microsoft Sri Lanka has built the City Apps in close collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, in order to assist them in their mission to promote tourism in the country. The company has developed a series of city Apps under the name 'Window to Sri Lanka' which will provide tourists and locals travelling in Sri Lanka or planning their holiday here from anywhere in the world, a visual information guide and an interactive snapshot to the key cities to visit in Sri Lanka.

The series of City Apps featured under the 'Window to Sri Lanka' theme will provide a window to the country’s important tourist spots by creating exclusive information on cities such as Colombo, Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Galle, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Negombo, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Yapahuwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla. The App, which includes high-quality pictures, important details, and maps will serve as navigators to the cities. The App lets users view information such as ‘Places to visit’, ‘Where to stay, eat, or shop’, in addition to ‘Important facts about the City’ and ‘How to get there’. It will contain unique aspects of each city to give the visitor an immediate sense of where to go and what to do depending on their interests.

A significant feature of the City Apps, being unveiled is that the App once downloaded to any desk top PC, tablet or laptop, can be accessed and used with or without Internet, which is an added convenience, especially in remote areas where 3G or Wi-Fi coverage does not exist.

First among the cities ‘Window to Sri Lanka’ will initially cover are Hambantota, Colombo and Anuradhapura, and the rest of the cities will be included in the near future.

The series of City Apps aim to attract both local and foreign tourists who are key stakeholders of the tourism and investment boom in Sri Lanka. The project, facilitated and assisted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, aims to address the imminent need to make our travel destinations available in Digital mode, which is a common feature for all the major cities of the world.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager for Microsoft in Sri Lanka said that Microsoft, as the largest software company in the world, is always willing to assist Sri Lanka in achieving development goals. He also extended his sincere gratitude to Hambanthota District MP Namal Rajapaksa for the support and inspiration he provided towards building the App successfully.

Udana Wickremasinghe, Director ICT of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority appreciating Microsoft's effort to boost the tourism sector, said "Sri Lanka is heading towards a new era of tourism industry, where visitors will use internet as the primary medium in accessing information related to the country. From tablets to mobile phones, smart Mobile devices will play a vital role in delivering rich content and accessibility to services such as online hotel booking to potential travellers. Therefore, this is an excellent move by Microsoft Sri Lanka to develop City Apps for windows 8 covering tourism attractions and related service in Sri Lanka to be used by visitors."

Commenting on this App development initiative, Wellington Perera, Director DPE of Microsoft Sri Lanka, who spearheaded the initiative, said that the App is capable of playing a pivotal role in promoting Sri Lanka's tourism, not only among international tourists but also among local travellers as well as investors.

"Right now our country is in a growth phase and as a technology company our role is to facilitate this mission. With the advent of smart mobile devices that are sweeping the world, one way to attract attention towards our beautiful country is to place our amazing tourist destinations on the digital realm. That is why we focused on developing a series of City Apps. Although this primarily focuses on the tourism sector, this has an investment aspect as well. For instance, Hambantota, the first City App we witnessed today, is not only a tourist attraction, but also an investment destination, particularly with the massive scale of commercial and infrastructure developments taking place across the district. Therefore, the information we give out about Hambantota also aims to attract potential investors and entrepreneurs as well. We already have plans to improve this further in the future," he said.

Although the App has initially been built for laptops and tablets, Wellington Perera says that plans are under way for it also to be modified into a mobile App soon. The App will be made available at the ‘Microsoft Store’, home for thousands of interesting Windows Apps as well as on several popular travel websites.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa ushers Hambantota in to the Digital Realm through a City App

President Mahinda Rajapaksa ushers Hambantota in to the Digital Realm through a City App

President Mahinda Rajapaksa ushers Hambantota in to the Digital Realm through a City App

President Mahinda Rajapaksa ushers Hambantota in to the Digital Realm through a City App