Pokémon GO has hit the App and Gaming world by storm and earning millions of dollars along the way – and that is just the tip of the iceberg as Pokémon GO branding starts hitting fast food restaurants and toy stores. The game combines real-world mapping and the use of a smartphone and has seemed to capture the hearts of many users. There have been some tragedies related to playing the game, but for the most part, it has been an enjoyable and safe experience. Retailers started using it to lure customers to the areas they sell, but Travel Alberta decided to get into the Pokémon GO fun and use the game as a means to promote tourism in the city of Calgary – organizer Mike Morrison said the online tickets sold out in only 20 minutes.
He was surprised by the diversity of the group that showed up – he said they ranged from old to young, guys, girls, couples, and fathers and sons. It was a way to use the Pokémon GO game as a means to bring people and families together to tour Calgary in a different kind of way. There were people that never played the game that could see the impact it had in downtown Calgary. Eleni Kappos said, "Over the last couple of days we have just seen tons of crowds all over the city. It is crazy. [She had] never seen anything like that before, heads down, phone in hand." What was nice to see was that families were following on the tour together, working together, to have fun, and learn some things about the city. The bus tour started and ended at the Calgary's Village Ice Cream in Victoria Park and along the way, there were stops that allowed the tourists to interact as they captured Pokémon.
There are mixed feelings about the Pokémon GO game – parents are upset that people can get hurt simply walking through an intersection as they concentrate on finding Pokémon, while kids are excited because it gets them out of the house for some exercise while having fun. Morgan Worth is a photographer and social media manager that was asked to help organize the tour. She said that Pokémon has helped revitalize the city, and she is amazed at what was once a downtown that was dead at night has many people playing and interacting with one another. She looks at the tremendous opportunity there is for small businesses and the marketing opportunity potential. People will now see parts of the city they never saw before by looking for Pokémon.