VietNamNet Bridge – Nguyen Van Chuong is a 34-year-old software engineer from Da Nang, who has transformed his love for his home into an application to help tourists navigate the city.
App happy: The idea of the inDanang app came about when Nguyen Van Chuong was working with foreigners in an education institution. — Photos Courtesy of Nguyen Van Chuong.
“When I was working in education alongside foreign teachers, I saw a great need and demand for up-to-date local information for foreigners who want to explore and experience Viet Nam in a local way. The idea of developing an application to support travellers started at that time, in 2014,” said Nguyen Van Chuong.
Chuong now works for a technology company based in Da Nang. Through his work, he learned the process of developing a technology product, application or piece of software, and decided to begin developing the project.
The application he came up with, inDanang, is a mobile application providing information for both travellers and locals for free. It helps travellers search for information as well updates on destinations, maps, and upcoming events in Da Nang without the need for an Internet connection.
Information is provided in various categories including food and drink, sightseeing, shopping, accommodation, and events. Users can also access recommendations on the best destinations in Da Nang in four languages – Vietnamese, English, Korean and Japanese.
“The release of the inDanang app contributes to the promotion of local tourism and supports travellers with useful information. This is also a channel for feedback from travellers, helping to improve tourism services,” said Chuong.
“The more engaged I am in the project, the more inspired I am and the more I travel. Travelling to new places and taking field trips helps me to have the experience of a traveller and understand the problems as well challenges that travel agencies are encountering – how to develop local tourism in a sustainable way and how to create an authentic travel experience for travellers.
“A series of inVietnam applications is also in the pipeline, covering 64 cities and provinces,” said Chuong.
“Currently there are many made-in-Viet Nam apps, yet most are commercialised, including the sale of tours or hotel bookings,” said Chuong.
The inDanang app is not only free but the information it provides is authentic and accurate. To ensure the trustworthiness of the app, the project team worked directly with localities in order to gather information, said Chuong.
Information about destinations and services is backed-up by the Tourism Promotion Centre of Da Nang City’s Department of Tourism, while food production and business facilities meeting food safety rules is provided by the city’s Department of Trade and Industry, and ratings from users are also available.
“When we did the field trip and experienced tourism services in Quang Nam, we saw that besides the three highlights of the ancient town of Hoi An, My Son sanctuary and Cu Lao Cham biosphere reserve, it is also necessary to introduce and support travellers in exploring new destinations in rural areas, neighbouring Hoi An and the mountainous area in the west with traditional handicraft villages or the destinations in the south of the province like Phu Ninh Lake eco-tourism area, Ky Anh tunnel, Tam Hai island,” said Chuong.
To develop tourism sustainably, there needs to be investment, upgrades to infrastructure, the strengthening of tourism promotion work as well as supporting travellers during their visit and stay in the locality, besides diversifying tourism products, said Chuong.
To enrich his experience, Chuong also went abroad to learn from start-up models in Thailand and Hong Kong.
“These visits helped to open up my perspective as well as give me valuable experience to regulate and adjust my model.”
“Initially I considered this simply as a technology product - using technology to create a new channel to connect travelers with the city. Yet when I implemented the project, carrying out the field trips and having the chance to meet and talk with businesses and tourism promotion agencies, I realised it was more than a product. I started understanding more about their concerns, their ambitions in tourism promotion which is specific to localities.
The inDanang has filed for brand protection and expanded to inMocchau and inHoian.
Chương and his team also made field trips to Moc Chau and Hoi An collecting information for the inMocchau and inHoian apps. Meanwhile basic information for similar applications for another 63 cities and provinces all over Viet Nam has been made available and will be released.
The inDanang app has been downloaded by about 15,000 Android users. About 500 use the application on a frequent basis, 20 per cent of users being Koreans, 10 per cent Americans, Hongkongese and Japanese.
Meanwhile, the inVietnam app is on trial period with more than 2,000 downloads.
“It indicates the very big potential of Viet Nam tourism,” said Chuong.
Useful info: The inDanang app will contribute to local tourism promotion, supporting travelers in terms of information. This is also a channel where feedback can be given, helping to improve tourism services.
Top tourism: The co-founder of the inVietnam project, Khanh Lam working with a representative of Quang Nam’s Tourism Promotion Centre on his trip to Quang Nam Province.