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Kostroma’s digital transformation

An interesting experiment got started in Kostroma region – promotion through mobile internet. So far no one in our country started such a major project – placing an entire region online. Google, the world leader in technology, is the one to develop the digital image of Kostroma. Oktogo.ru, the Russian service of online hotel booking, is to provide advertising support.


As explained by Google’s PR Director for Russia and Eastern Europe Mrs. Alla Zabrovskaya at recent press conference, the aim of the project is to attract the attention of internet users (who are mainly youth and middle aged people) to Kostroma’s travel resources. According to Mrs. Zabrovskaya there’s one more aim – to find out whether it’s possible to increase interest to a whole region with the help of online tools.



The project named Kostroma: Digital Transformation is to last 2.5 months. Kostroma’s official tourist portal Kostroma.ru was specially transformed for project’s implementation. Design engineers changed it significantly according to Google specialists’ recommendations. Having finished with the cyberspace, the authors of the project placed QR codes on more than a thousand historical buildings, restaurants and hotels. QR codes lead to a certain page of the mobile website. Interested guests who prefer self-guiding can find there information on the history of the house or its role in city’s life. The number and contents of QR codes and corresponding articles is to be constantly updated.


Google maps now feature all places of interest of the region, information on museums, hotels and shops. Now being participant of No Barriers social project, local administration marked on the map places which are available for people with disabilities.


Now one can read about Kostroma on a special page in social network Google+ and watch videos on YouTube. Stories about husky riding, the Snow Maiden’s palace and Pike’s day celebration can already be found there. Alla Zabrovskaya noted that within the first day the amount of subscribers of Kostroma’s website exceeded four thousand.


Within the project Kostroma: Digital Transformation a photo and video competition was started. Everyone can participate by uploading photos and videos on Google+. There are several nominations within GoKostroma competition: Kostroma.Next (photos about youth life in the town), Kostroma.Live and My City. Winners will get mobile devices.


Whether the project was a success or not we’ll find out in January 2013. The growth of the interest to Kostroma will be evaluated by several criteria. First of all the effort of design engineers must affect the number of entries to the city’s web page and the mobile version. Oktogo.ru will check whether there number of hotel bookings increased. To do this, a special page for Kostroma’s hotels promotion was created. Whether the project was a success or not can as well be judged by the amount of visits to museums and other places of interest in and around Kostroma – there’s hope that the number of guests will increase in comparison to the previous year.


Alla Zabrovskaya stressed out that January’s summing-up will not be considered as the end of the project. She’s sure that the administration of Kostroma region will continue to use various internet sites to attract tourists: “Internet promotion is a wide range of online tools, low prices, various possibilities for everyone: average users, government and business”.

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