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For cities, investment in smart tourism may be just one particular desired outcome in the wider smart city discussion, but it is worth noting that it is central to the wider agenda, Prof Perry Hobson, pro deputy-chancellor for global engagement at Taylor’s University in Malaysia, said.
The growth in the use of IT and websites has allowed many businesses to deal directly with consumers and has seen the development of new B2B platforms and led to the development of new B2C businesses, he said.
Companies such as Trip Advisor, Expedia, Airbnb, Hotels.
com, Uber, and Skyscanner have all arrived as a result of this digitization, Hobson said.
“Given that tourism is about a series of individual experiences that tourists have in a destination, the creation of smart tourism will allow these experiences to be better connected, inter-connected and d.”
There would be no more looking at guide books and maps and then wondering what to do if it rains, he said.
Individual tours can be created by combining preferred forms of transport, sites and attractions using past recommendations from friends or trusted sources/bloggers, he said.
Weather, transport and distances can be taken into account, and ever-present e-guides with translating services which would transform the mass tourism experience into an individually customised experience, Hobson said.
The next phase of innovations would largely be driven by the increasing prevalence of IoT, and the ability to reach interconnectivity and predictability, and it is this phase that would have potentially profound implications for the tourism, hospitality and events industries, he said.
Yoonjae Nam, director of the Centre for Global Entertainment Contents at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, said technologies for a smart tourism destination can be varied depending on purpose, including IoT, wearable computing, cloud computing, virtual reality, augmented reality, beacon, GPS, artificial intelligence, and big data.
Thanks to GPS and the reality functions of smartphones, visitors are provided with real-time information on dining options, weather, currency rates, accommodation, and nearby points of interest, he said.
Travel guide apps that run on smartphones operate in several different languages and offer a variety of services such as audio guides, interactive street maps and transportation information including real-time bus schedules and bus fares.
For instance, the Korean Tourism Organisation has both domestic and international smart tourism departments, which oversee the development and operation of multiple platforms, including multilingual websites and smartphone applications, he added.
Huynh Luong Huy Thong, an officer at the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group’s RD center, said a smart tourism eco-system can be defined as a tourism system that takes advantage of smart technology for creating, managing and delivering intelligent tourism services and experiences.
It also provides several ways to interact with tourists, including SmartAds (for transferring content to the display), SmartBooth (tourism information station), and LBA (SMS location-based advertising), Thong said.
“Against this backdrop, it is necessary that we establish an advanced smart tourism environment using state-of-the-art ICT technology, and promote the tourism industry as a whole by providing a number of smart tourism services.”
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