At World Travel Mart, smart tourism becomes the main topic

Published on : Thursday, November 7, 2019

The entirety of ExCeL London was in use, with a programme of seminars and keynotes accompanying exhibitors spread across each hall.

 

On smart tourism, EW sat on a panel discussion, moderated by the World Tourism Cities Federation.

 

Professor Dimitrious Buhalis (pictured top left), Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism & Hospitality Research at Bournemouth University, gave a definition of ‘smart tourism’. He stated that in tourism, it’s not just the use of advanced technology but the amalgamation and connection of all aspects of the tourism experience.

 

Developments in the internet of things, data and 5G wi-fi mean tourists are more and more able to turn into co-creators than consumers. Buhalis added: “Smart tourism is creating a totally new ecosystem. For destinations, it is not a matter of if these technologies will come to prominence, but when.”

 

Tia Hallanaro, Director of Brand Communications & Brand Marketing at Helsinki Marketing, spoke about the way the Finnish capital had collaborated with Chinese tech giant TenCent. Jointly, the two groups had developed a programme within ubiquitous Chinese app WeChat, which could offer Chinese tourists with live translation, wayfinding and recommendations to improve their tourism experience.

 

Miguel Sanz, Tourism Director at Madrid Destino, also illustrated on how the Spanish city of Madrid had made the use of gamification as part of a pioneering loyalty programme.

 

The app, which was aimed to alter business travelers into repeat leisure travelers, utilized points system allowing visitors to win prizes and upgrades, by collaborating with several tourist attractions across the city.

 


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