guideU – a guide in your smartphone
Fighting the crisis with an application
Covid-19 has hit a very large number of professional groups and one of those affected most are tourist guides. Mateusz Tomaszczyk, a Krakow guide with years of experience, describes the situation of his professional group: ‘One day we just simply lost the source of income and subsistence. Our customers were mainly organised groups, and we all know how it looks now, with all the Covid-related restrictions. Apart from financial issues, there are also emotional ones. Telling stories about Krakow is my passion; I put a lot of effort to include in my narration some curiosities not available in Wikipedia. Suddenly, the situation forced me to look for alternatives’.
Shortly before the pandemic broke out, people associated with guideU contacted Mateusz to discuss their idea with him. ‘I liked it straight away and initially treated the app as an addition to my activity. The pandemic has made my contact with tourists move much more into the application. I’m glad that my stories are still available to those who want to visit my beloved city’, adds Mateusz.
How to become a digital tourist?
The guideU application is available on the App Store and Google Play. After downloading it, you just need to select the city or region you want to explore and then the available routes will appear. We want tourists to have the widest choice to suit their needs. In our application we can find popular attractions such as Sukiennice or the Kazimierz district, but also less obvious routes such as the footpath of the Krakow Freemasons or a walk….in the clouds, i.e., the route to the Ojców National Park, constructed in such a way, that with a bit of luck our journey will literally take place in the clouds,’ says Maciej one of the co-developers of the application.
When you select a route of your interest, you just need to make a purchase in the application. Prices currently vary between PLN 5.00-30.0 and purchases may be used not only by the smartphone owner but also by accompanying family members or friends. Then everything is very simple, guideU will guide you to the various attractions, and when you're there you can listen to the story recorded by the guide or read the transcript of the recording.
Become a tourist in your own city
The pandemic has had a major impact on the tourism industry. One indication of this impact is the trend known as staycation, i.e., spending free time in the immediate vicinity. Here as well, the guideU application is meeting the needs of those who want to rediscover their surroundings. We don’t need to go very far at all to discover and explore new places. Even the city in which we have been living hides a lot of secrets. We are confident that the inhabitants of Krakow will spend an interesting time in the royal city thanks to our guides. This will be made possible thanks to the routes devoted to less popular regional stories, but also the gameification mode that combines sightseeing with competition, ideal for families with children. For example, we can follow the trail of ghosts, spectres, and alchemists, learning unconventional stories and legends about the city. Each point has assigned tasks that we need to accomplish in order to move to the next point, say the developers of the application.
Sample routes from the Małopolska region? We recommend Krakow - Old Town ‘in the Krakow style’, and ‘Long Ago in Jewish Kazimierz’... or the already-mentioned Route of ghosts, spectres and alchemists.
Ready, steady, get your phone and go!