34ML, a web and app development company, has been planning on launching Around Egypt app since late 2019, when Egypt started closing down tourist destinations, churches and mosques due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The timing of launching this app served us well to be honest. Due to the current situation, everyone were staying at home, internet consumption increased, and everyone was willing to download anything like this and watch it. Especially that all the temples, museums, mosques and churches are closed.Ahmed Saafan, Founder, 34ML
Through the application, one can enjoy tours powered by Virtual Reality, such as the Wadi El-Gamal, Red Sea, and other archaeological tourist attractions such as Abu Simbel Temple, and many museums and various places, such as Anwar Sadat Museum and Alexandria Opera House, among others.
Once published, the app attracted more than 3,000 downloads, and Facebook page posts reached more than 350,000 worldwide without the need for any promotional campaigns. Peter Magdy, Android programmer at 34ML, explains that the app is the result of a collaboration between his company and VR Egypt, which already had a huge archive of rich visual materials. The technical challenge was to provide these images on the application with high quality, and at the same time, in a manner suitable for the relatively low internet speed in Egypt. Magdy adds that the company overcame this challenge, which contributed to the spread of the application and its popularity.
Saafan hopes to keep the application free. The company is exploring ways to finance it by adding ads, or providing additional images in exchange for subscriptions from users, but the ideal scenario, in his view, is that the application attracts a sponsor or a group of sponsors to keep the application free.
The idea of the app started without any revenue strategy, we just wanted to do something for Egypt, for tourism. We want to show the people in Egypt and abroad that there’s so much more to Egypt than the pyramids and the Sphinx.
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