Yosemite’s Vernal Falls is part of new
Yosemite National Park has joined the high-tech age with new virtual self-guided walking tours for visitors using handheld electronic devices.
The 90-minute audio/video tours were developed in conjunction with the National Park Service and the Yosemite Association and follow a 1.6-mile paved trail loop around Lower Yosemite Falls. Using technology similar to a GPS unit, the Explorer determines a user’s location and guides them along the scenic route with narrative and imagery. Visitors can select from more than 40 pre-recorded topics including Yosemite’s early pioneers, historic milestones, cultural heritage, landmarks and native wildlife and ecology. Optional stories, trivia questions and interactive games are offered for younger visitors.
“These new multimedia tours appeal to a wide range of visitors from first-timers seeking a good overview of the Valley to longtime returning guests who prefer independent exploration,” said David Guy, chief executive of the Yosemite Association.
The tour is developed by Big Escapes, a multimedia company specifically targeting handheld video tour guides for parks and historic sites. Its Yosemite tours currently are available in English only, but the association and Big Escapes hope to expand the technology to other areas of the park and could develop the tour in other languages as well.
The Explorer units can be rented at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and cost $9.95 for adults and $7.95 for children ages 3-12. Reservations are not necessary, however, groups of 10 or more can reserve units by calling or going online.
Adventure Travel Site
Looking for an eco-tour in Africa? Surfing lessons in California?
VoyageTrek Travel has recently launched a free, beta Web site that allows users everyone from consumers to agents to search a database of adventure-travel tour operators around the world. The site, VoyageTrek.com, features more than 10,000 specialty, educational and adventure travel tour operators who register and submit information including company details, travel services and tours.
The site lists tour operators by country or U.S. state, and also can be searched by 60 activities categorized into 20 adventure groupings including extreme adventure, snow sports and safaris. Founded by ex-Microsoft executive Cliff Hawk, VoyageTrek grew out of Hawk’s own interest in adventure travel. Hawk also was a former tour guide in Montana, Alaska and the Canadian Rockies.
“Travelers looking for unique and adventurous vacations today must either spend hours toiling through the endless and often irrelevant results from general search engines like Google, or end up disappointed by the slim number of biased results returned by adventure travel advertising directories,” he said. “VoyageTrek Travel’s mission is to help people find their ideal adventures and vacations.”
Trying to help a client plan a road trip? A new Web site hopes to make it easier.
Travelocity recently launched its RoadTrip Wizard, combining mapping and turn-by-turn directions with hotel, restaurant and itinerary suggestions based on a client’s needs.
Through an alliance with LeisureLogix a travel and navigation services firm founded by executives from AAA, Amadeus, EDS and Worldspan the site offers a personalized road trip planning tool for any travel-related or affinity Web site.
The site taps into a searchable database of nearly 5 million points of interest and events across the country, including wineries, festivals and national parks. The site also offers places to stay; restaurants; places to shop; attractions; medical services; and miscellaneous services from pet care to babysitting to laundromats.
Travelocity Road Trip Wizard
Galileo has teamed with VFM Interactive Inc. to provide agents access through their desktop to photos, videos and virtual tours for thousands of hotels and resorts worldwide. Under the deal, Galileo will be the first GDS to offer its hotel suppliers free use of a Web-based tool that lets them upload and distribute up to 10 photos per property to Galileo-connected agencies, booking portals and Web service users worldwide, as well as other VFM distribution channels, including major travel Web sites and travel intermediaries.
Vacation.com has begun offering its agents desktop training sessions through its Agent Advancement Center. Webinars include information on becoming a concierge host for 2008 Vacation Vignette departures and use of the VacationPort tool for preferred supplier sales. Courses are repeated each month and schedules are updated weekly. Courses are included as part of an agent’s annual Vacation.com membership. Due to limited space, agents are urged to register in advance at AgentNet.com
Sabre Travel Network recently launched Sabre Virtually There mobile services, bringing information on everything from flight notification alerts to TSA security wait times to travelers’ cell phones or other Web-enabled mobile devices.
Sabre Virtually There