WILDWOOD - Beaches, boardwalks, funnel cakes. The Cape May County Department of Tourism has an app for that.
The department is launching its own iPhone application as part of an ongoing effort to market Cape May County online.
Diane Wieland, county tourism director, said the county opted to join the app world after noticing a trend among the people visiting the county's website.
Using Google Analytics, Wieland saw that more and more visitors were coming to the Web site via mobile devices such as iPhones and BlackBerrys versus traditional desktop computers.
"Then, I'm thinking we need to be a part of that technology," Wieland said.
Bluewire, a design company, created the Jersey Cape application that will link visitors to other county websites belonging to chambers of commerce, business organizations and municipalities. In turn, those links take visitors to accommodations, restaurants and other amenities.
"We will link to each community's website and then each community.
The application's image, featuring a family on vacation, was designed by illustrator Kimble Mead.
The application cost about $11,300, paid for with county tourism funds and state grant money, for its design and placement, a one-time expense to get the application placed by Apple into its iTunes store. The application can be added to mobile devices, however, for free.
"We're going to market it. We're going to advertise it," Wieland said.
Print advertisements are already being used to make the public aware of the application, which will be available by mid-July.
Debbie Bass, the county's marketing director and a regular iPhone user, demonstrated the application for a reporter and the ease of its use during Wednesday's Greater Wildwoods Chamber of Commerce meeting in Wildwood.
"This is an opportunity to provide visitors with as much information as we can," Bass said of the links to each of the county's communities.
"We're taking advantage of the technology that's available," Bass said.
Wieland said the application was among this year's newest efforts to draw visitors to Cape May County, the state's number two producer of tourism revenues.
The county's tourism office focuses on the 30 million people living in a 300 mile radius of the county, and the iTunes application well help to reach those visitors and beyond.
Despite the downturn in the nation's economy, Wieland said the county has reason to be optimistic as it pursues those 30 million potential visitors.
She pointed to the region's biggest asset - its beaches - as a top draw with 89 percent of 1,000 surveyed visitors saying they went to a beach in 2009.
The long, cold winter was also a plus, she said, as people look for ways to forget the year's record snowfalls.
"That's definitely on our side," she said.
Wieland added that the county continues to draw from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.
"Seventy-five percent of our visitors are from outside New Jersey," Wieland said.
The count has focused on Canada this year, issuing a savings passport designed to offset the costs Canadians must now pay to obtain passports to visit the U.S.
Asked by a chamber member about the 2010 outlook, Wieland was enthusiastic.
"I think it's already ahead of last year based on the amount of calls we're getting," she said.
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