A Halls Gap business owner is making the most of development in technology to help enhance the tourist experience in the Grampians.
Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park owner Josephina McDonald has spent the last four years developing the Grampians Treasure Hunt mobile application.
The app went live last week, providing visitors to the Grampians a treasure hunt-like experience using GPS technology on mobile phones.
Mrs McDonald said she saw a gap in the market for information about the region when taking over the tourist park about seven years ago.
"Being new to the tourism industry and to the Grampians, I saw there was a lack of readily available information for our guests," she said.
"I always try and look outside the box with ways of doing things which is when I heard of the idea of GPS based treasure hunts."
It was on a trip to her home country Holland when Mrs McDonald discovered the technology.
"I knew about the technology but on the day before I left to come home to Australia about four years ago I met with these people who have businesses in Iceland but are based in Holland," she said.
"I knew exactly what I wanted to do and they were able to help me make it a reality."
The Grampians Treasure Hunt app will provide various themed 'hunts', encouraging people with different interests to different places around the region.
"At the moment we only have our kids one launched but we have ideas for things such as art, summer, aboriginal heritage and so on," Mrs McDonald said.
"It is a way for people to get their legs moving and to have some good old family fun but using modern technology to do so.
"It is a new idea not just in the region but in the whole country so hopefully we can see some success from it."
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said the app has the potential to help continue to grow the tourism industry in the region.
"Josephina is an entrepreneur, trendsetter and wonderful connector of businesses in our region," he said.
"The app will definitely help disperse people across the region as well as help to increase length of stay in the region.
"It provides another avenue for families to experience the Grampians."
Mrs McDonald said with the "soft launch" last Wednesday, the app is currently on available to Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park visitors or community members within the Grampians and surrounding region.
"If locals want to try it all they need to do is ask for a code at the tourist park," she said.
"It is free for now but I have invested about $10,000 into this project so at some point we will have to work on a way to earn that money back."
Mrs McDonald said the innovation "comes out of passion for family" as well as for the region.
"I have really good relationships with business owners so this is something I believe can benefit everyone in the Grampians region as well as help those who visit it," she said.
"We do have an issue at the moment with key sites like Boroka Lookout, the Pinnacle etc. of getting congested.
"The app can help guests visiting the Grampians to disperse around the region and do what interests them instead of doing what everyone else is."
More information is available at www.grampianstreasurehunts.com
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