Travis Rhooms inspiring adventure with local travel app
When adventurer Travis Rhooms began receiving requests to share his location, he decided to share his passion for travel with others in the most unique of ways — through a travel app dubbed Island Destinations.
“Island Destinations is a new local mobile application that seeks to promote domestic tourism and local attractions. This app will make weekend visits to ‘the country’ less mundane and more exciting — as we know all the nooks and crannies in Jamaica,” the chief executive officer of Travel App Jamaica Limited told Saturday Living.
A firm believer of taking ‘stay-cations’, as opposed to jetting overseas, Rhooms has always been a fan of travelling around Jamaica, but it grew over time and bloomed in the heat of the global pandemic. “When we could not travel abroad, due to COVID-19, we stuck to exploring Jamaica. Nowadays, I’m more inclined to hike up to a waterfall,” he said.
They say don’t go chasing waterfalls, but Rhooms is in love with the majesty and poetry of the water features. He has journeyed to view them up close and personal at Blue Mountain Whirlpool, Marley Falls and White River Falls in Portland, Falling Edge Waterfalls in St Andrew, and YS Falls in St Elizabeth.
The software developer by profession took the opportunity to take more cross-country trips and while sharing photos of the beautiful places on his excursions, curiosity grew from friends and followers looking to tap into or unleash their inner explorer.
That’s when the idea came to him. An app that could showcase places of interest via a photo gallery, as well as share the exact locations, with directions to arrive at the destinations.
Rhooms got a working app for iOS and Android out there in a matter of two months, officially launching in January of 2021.
Admitting that it is still a work in progress, he has added a few places that he was familiar with, putting the Google Maps locations in it using geotagging.
“It’s basically just a travel guide showcasing the places. Creating this mobile application provides weekend explorers with information about places from Morant Point to Negril Point. You can plan your trips around the locations on the app,” he added.
Places have already reached out to him to add their destinations to the app, so that persons can book packages that the locations provide.
“I want Island Destinations to be the number one booking or travel app in Jamaica and in the world that isn’t only used by locals, but by foreigners as well. I want it to be an all-in-one, one-stop place where people can go to find everything, popular spots and hidden gems,” he asserted.
Rhooms’ advice to persons who want to travel across the island but don’t know where to begin, is to just start.
“It’s not as scary as you might think. It’s much more fun. If you don’t want to go alone, start with a small group. You will be surprised to know that when you go to these places, the locals are very welcoming. You can talk to them, and they will even volunteer to take you to some of these destinations,” he said, adding, “When you see the beauty of some of these places, it doesn’t even look like it’s in Jamaica, so go for it.”