$29 app spices up Little India visits

$29 app spices up Little India visits
Worshippers at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which recently underwent a $7 million makeover for 2 years. The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is one of the nine stops covered by the new app.

SINGAPORE - Pay $29 to download an app and you can have a self-guided tour of Little India, with goodies and discounts thrown in.

For that price, you get an interactive map, write-ups, photo galleries, videos and audio commentary that covers the area's history, cultures and trades.

There are other perks, such as a flower garland, a henna tattoo, meal vouchers and even a packet of spices.

The price is reasonable, said the people behind the app, comparing the cost to an organised tour by an agency or a guide, which would be priced at more than $30 per person.

"Instead of paying a lump sum per person, you can do it at your own pace and get back more than what you spend on the app," Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association chairman Rajakumar Chandra said yesterday.

"It is value for money if you are coming in a group or with your family. With tour guides, timings are fixed and more restricted."

Most heritage trail apps - both here and abroad - are free. These include those launched by the National Heritage Board on areas such as Kampong Glam and Balestier, as well as a heritage trail app of Chijmes by Pre 8 Investments. Just a handful cost money, and these usually range between $1.28 and $3.98.

Technology blogger Alfred Siew said apps are usually understood to be free or low cost.

"$29 is more than what you usually expect to pay for a mobile app but, to be fair, you have to see the content and what the user can get out of it," he said.

The app will take visitors through nine stops within the historic district, including the newly conserved Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and spice merchant Thandapani Company.

It will be launched next week as part of this year's Deepavali celebrations, and targets both tourists and locals.

It is fronted by television personality Jamie Yeo and can be downloaded on both the Apple App and Google Play stores.

The aim, said Mr Rajakumar, is to get tourists to spend more time in Little India and explore some of the unknown treasures within the enclave, like traditional Indian gold craftsmen.

That is why the association sunk $5,000 to develop the app and will be spending another $20,000 to market it.

The association also hopes to drum up unique visitorship figures during this festive period from 1.6 million last year to more than two million.

Other activities include a silver chariot procession at the Sri Mariamman Temple and a festival village in Campbell Lane and Hastings Road featuring food, crafts and clothes stalls. Deepavali falls on Oct 22.


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