Travel Tech

Tokyo’s aquarium is among the biggest attractions in the city and is therefore well-known by locals and visitors. However, the aquarium faces major competition from other attractions that are more hip and young than the aquarium. This is a major problem for Tokyo’s aquarium and the attraction decided to react by finding a new, innovative way of getting people back to the tourism attraction and visiting the aquarium (Marketing Unwired 2013).


Tokyo Aquarium decided that an application would be the most efficient solution to lure people into the aquarium. A GPS system was created that featured the aquarium’s most popular ambassadors - penguins. When consumers are using the app, augmented reality penguins are appearing on the screen, leading the way and indicating the direction to the aquarium.

Tokyo’s aquarium invested into advanced motion capture technology to ensure that the augmented reality penguins move the same way as real penguins would do. The fact that AR penguins are leading the way to the aquarium is already entertaining to watch and can capture visitors and travellers and guide them to the aquarium.


Interestingly, Tokyo’s aquarium achieved a dramatic increase of visitors to the aquarium through the use of the AR penguins in the app. Through the AR penguin app, the aquarium experienced an increase in visitors by 152% compared to the previous month. This demonstrates the great success of innovative use of technologies that are available but can be used to enhance the tourism experience in a tourism related context. However, making the app also involved costs and work which also need to be taken into consideration, when thinking about how apps or innovative use of technologies could help your destination or attraction.

It is important to look at this example also with a critical eye and aim to find ways in which similar outcomes can be achieved without having to invest heavily into an app or other technologies, as budgets for tourism destinations and businesses are often tight and not every business or destination can have an AR penguin app.

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