What is Smart Tourism?
According to UN News, by 2030, there will be 1.8 billion people traveling the world. To accommodate this volume of travelers, countries are looking toward Smart Tourism as a means of streamlining and improving tourism infrastructure. Smart Tourism is a transformative approach to the travel industry that facilitates tourism and hospitality through innovative technology and data-driven solutions.
The concept of Smart Tourism harnesses the potential of information and communication (ICT) tools to integrate digital information and services into the tourist experience seamlessly. The goal is to offer tourists more personalized, convenient, efficient, and safe travel options. It also aids host countries by promoting economic growth, protecting and highlighting cultural heritage, and reducing the environmental impact of the tourism industry. Additionally, by investing in and developing ICT-based technology in tourism, host countries can strengthen visitor engagement and attract more tourist revenue.
Smart Tourism originated in the European Union (EU) and is already showing great results in many countries in Europe and elsewhere. The European Union’s Smart Tourism concept can manifest as various solutions, including more efficient transportation, country-wide access to free wifi, automated alerts about traffic patterns or public incidents, e-passes for cultural sites that can be obtained online, electric transportation options, and much more.
Empowering Smart Tourism for Sustainable Travel Experiences
There are many ways countries can adopt and apply Smart Tourism practices. First, they should be open to adopting innovative technologies to support new tourism products and services that align with Smart Tourism goals. They should also seek ways to promote and incorporate sustainable practices to improve the longevity of their communities and economies. Smart Tourism also relies on collaboration between countries and cities to foster dialogue, share successful practices, and develop an intercity and international knowledge base for the future.
Some practical applications of Smart Tourism include mobile applications, websites, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices that provide tourists with flexible solutions from various digital touchpoints. Mobile applications and websites can be a great way to connect tourists on the go. They can be used country-wide, and they are easy to access. They can be designed to offer real-time information about attractions, transportation, or events. They can also have a chatbot feature for tourists to seek information without visiting a brick-and-mortar tourism office.
Digital applications of Smart Tourism can offer recommendations based on individual preferences and can even incorporate augmented reality to deliver immersive, interactive experiences at historical sites and landmarks. Better yet, incorporating more technological solutions can reduce the carbon footprint of the local tourism sector by reducing the need for excessive driving and paper products.
For host countries, the data gathered from various touchpoints can be used to gain valuable insights into visitor behavior. This helps them create tailored marketing strategies and improve resource use for more effective and efficient tourism management. Smart Tourism applications can be pivotal in how travelers engage with destinations, enhancing convenience, personalization, and sustainability.