As Sri Lanka accommodates many tourist attractions with diverse features of interest, the requirement for an application that enables tourists to filter attractions based on personal preference is apparent. “TravelSL” is a mobile application which assists tourists in traveling to places of their personal preference in Sri Lanka.
The app requires a user to login via a Facebook account to identify the personal travel preferences of the user. Upon registration, a one-time sentiment analysis of posted “check-ins” of the user will be conducted which derives an explicit rating for each location visited by the user, to identify the user’s travel preferences.
Based on the identified preferences, unvisited locations in any city in Sri Lanka can be rated by a state-of-the-art recommender implementing a user-based collaborating filtering technique. The uniqueness of the solution rests in the use of social media data available on Facebook to identify user preferences and the logic of the recommendation system which can robustly handle the cold start problems.
“TravelSL” is extremely user-friendly as it designs an optimum route covering top recommended locations based on the traveling mode, distance, predicted rating and existing reservations for each location made visible to the user on Google Maps.
Trip planning is a tedious and a time consuming activity to anyone. Especially in the case of tourists, determining which places to travel to in an unknown country makes traveling time consuming and expensive. Even though many trip planning web sites such as TripAdvisor exist, the information overload is still apparent. This has paved opportunity for personalized travel recommendations to come into play.
Mobile based Applications or "Apps" are popular among travelers to various destinations which provide information and various other services i.e. hotel bookings etc. There is a large number of global examples of successful travel apps and for Sri Lanka, there are very few applications available. It is commendable to see that apps like Travel SL are taking the effort to take Sri Lanka to the potential global travelers and entice them to visit the country.
The general idea of a personalized travel recommendation system is to identify the genuine personal travel preferences of a user (i.e. historical, religious, entertainment value etc.) and then use it to recommend unvisited locations in a new city to the user. However, the existing solutions lack in capturing the genuine personal preference as they usually ask users to explicitly provide where they want to go (restaurants, beaches etc.).
This solution tries to fill the gap by converting mere information to content that may be relevant to user's individual travel requirement.
Producer : Team Phoenix from Faculty of Information Technology,University of Moratuwa (Senuri Wijenayake, Sachini Ganiachchi, Janitha Wijekoon)