Alqueva Lake Transboundary Association

Smart signage of Lake Alqueva

A single platform, Inventrip, to manage tourist information and connect the smart signs of its 9 municipalities.
smart signs

The Alqueva Lake, located in the south of Portugal, next to the border with the Spanish province of Badajoz, is considered the largest artificial lake in Europe and led to the creation of ATLA (Associação Transfronteiriça do Lago Alqueva) for its territorial and touristic development. This association is made up of the Portuguese municipalities of Alandroal, Barrancos, Portel, Moura, Mourão, Serpa, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Viana do Alentejo and Vidigueira and the Spanish municipalities of Alconchel, Cheles, Olivenza and Villanueva del Fresno.

This project initially started in the municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz, where the town council was looking for a solution to the growing tourist pressure, reflected in a totally disorganized signage/advertising in all the entrances, roundabouts and crossroads of its road network. The aim was also to be able to offer quality tourist information to the increasing number of visitors coming to Monsaraz and the surrounding area, coming to visit in particular its castle and one of the best river beaches in Portugal. Furthermore, Reguengos de Monsaraz was European City of Wine in 2015 and this international event was used to promote the quality of the Alentejo wine.

These reasons led the municipal government in 2016 to take an interest in the Inventrip platform, which had a pioneering system of intelligent tourist information and signage and the possibility of being able to theme all the municipality’s tourist activities: wine tourism, water sports, megalithic art, handicrafts, etc.

As part of the contract awarded to the company Sismotur, the inventrip service of Reguengos de Monsaraz was published and all the tourist resources and services were uploaded, themed and prioritized for dissemination through the website and app. Promotional cards with NFC connectors were also published and used at the main international tourism fairs (BTL, FITUR, etc.) as well as in Shanghai.

Finally, after an analysis of the existing tourist signage, Sismotur drew up an intelligent tourist signage plan with the Signing platform that consisted of defining the road network, a hierarchy of signposted poles, an analysis of signage itineraries, the definition of content and a signage manual that included the incorporation of Beacons technology in the pedestrian signage. All this made it possible to permanently provide contextualized information to tourists through the Inventrip App. This made it possible to remove all the tourist information that previously existed and that mainly indicated or advertised accommodation and restaurants, which had a great visual impact on the destination.

This project was presented by the Mayor, Mr. José Calixto, to the municipalities of the ATLA association and to the President of the Regional Tourism Entity Alentejo-Ribatejo, Mr. António Ceia da Silva, who were interested in this initiative and finally decided in 2018 to extend its implementation to the rest of the Portuguese municipalities of ATLA, through a line of funding from the entity Tourism of Portugal.

Sismotur was also awarded the contract for the drafting of the municipal smart tourism signage plans, as well as for the implementation of the Inventrip service in each of the municipalities.

As a great innovation during this project, a data model was implemented in Inventrip that allowed the publication of a global service with all the resources and services for all the municipalities of the Alqueva Lake and that allowed a decentralized management of the tourist information of the Alqueva Lake through the management of each of its municipalities.

In total 171 smart signage equipments were designed with Beacons technology connected to the Inventrip App, Digital Kits for tourist establishments, a Geofences plan for all the municipalities and more than 3000 NFC cards.