|Brains behind the operation: Phan Hoang Yen and her husband Huynh Phung Huynh pose for a photo with their son. — Photo Phan Hoang Yen
With a little heart and software knowhow, a group of Vietnamese and one Singaporean designed an app that lets travellers plan, manage and share holidays. Nguyen Trang reports.
A free software working online and app has been launched to help tourists coming to Asia to find necessary information easily.
‘Justgola' has been designed by three Vietnamese, Huynh Tung, Huynh Phung Huynh, Phan Hoang Yen, and a Singaporean named Rich Goh Mong Siow, all living and working in Singapore.
"Justgola" aims to fix problems in promoting tourism. It also helps users to plan, manage and share holidays easily.
The software can automatically generate a user's personalised day-by-day itinerary based on travel destinations, durations, budgets and interest. It can get the best featured itineraries which you can clone and customise the way the user wants to. It can explore and save interested attractions to a wish-list from which ‘Justgola' generates a complete itinerary for the user, and syncs the itinerary with helpful travel information including across all of the user's devices for offline use. It can also download free offline maps and use the smart trip blog to manage, update and share his itinerary easily.
Yen, 29, who has just completed her study at the University of Wales, United Kingdom, recalled that her husband, Huynh Phung Huynh, used to travel a lot for seminars in many countries when he was doing his PhD. Before leaving, he often spent much time searching for information on the destinations, which he noted down and planned. When they got married and had a baby boy, he had to design a different travel plan to suit all the family members. That is why he thought of making a free tourism guide software to help people travel in Asia more easily.
"Many places in Asia do not have enough information and that discourages visitors, such as in the northern province of Ha Giang, where many tourist sites and restaurants are available in the Vietnamese language only," Yen said.
"This has resulted in very few foreign tourists visiting some remote areas. The team has explored places, translated all related information from Vietnamese to English to make up a data package for 'Justgola'," she added.
Comments from users
Simon Smith: Useful travel app. I have used this trip planner to create my itinerary to Singapore. The offline map is really useful.
Hoian Tour: This app is so smart and convenient. Thank you so much. It is easy to check the information and plan for our guests.
Ngan Le: What a great trip planning app! Making a plan to visit Asian countries within a few seconds! Awesome! Highly recommend to all travellers! — VNS
The software has been online for more than a year while its functions on the app have been introduced just two months ago.
"'Justgola' is free because the group really wants to offer a free and qualified guiding product to anyone wanting to explore Asia," Yen said, adding, "The same way Asians, in general and Vietnamese people with warm hearts, in particular, are willing to help tourists."
Yen further explained that one just has to fill in the destination, the number of days of travel, budget and interests, and the software will recommend the itinerary.
For example, from Singapore to Viet Nam, the software will recommend suitable restaurants and places for sightseeing.
Within five seconds, users can plan visits to more than 70 big cities in Asia. 'Justgola' will update sufficient information on local festivals, upcoming events, and transport facilities at the destination city. It can also tell opening, closing times, and ticket prices at venues. It can also automatically save a user's images at the locations.
'Justgola' has just been tested in New Zealand and Viet Nam.
The software won the first prize at two contests namely Singtel (Singapore) Accelerator Challenge to find out the next big consumer and Internet of Things apps and the Samsung-Singtel Mobile App Challenge, both in the last year.
It is now available all over the world. — VNS