The concept of Smart Tourism is defined by the European Union as a destination facilitating access to tourism and hospitality products, services, spaces and experiences through ICT-based (Information and communications technology) tools. By investing and developing these resources a city’s intelligence is strengthened and visitor engagement enhanced. This has implications on businesses and individuals alike who benefit from a more efficient infrastructure and service provision.
But why should you care about Smart Tourism?
In recent times the Tourism sector has been hit the hardest out of any other industry worldwide with the advancements of the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart Tourist destinations will now be the focal point for city regeneration and to soften the blow of seasonal tourist destinations. Smart Tourism facilitates this by creating an environment in which a holiday-maker can prosper and has been shown to trigger positive user experiences in visitors. 1.8 billion people are expected to be travelling the world by 2030 according to UN News highlighting the importance of placemaking and putting your city on the map for potential visitors.
Hello Lamp Post have been able to show tangible cause and effect on overall visitor experience through their implementation of a feedback loop at the Sydney Harbour Trust. This two way communication system allowed the governing body to understand the needs and wants of the tourists visiting and implement the necessary resources to accommodate these needs. It also provided a means for Sydney Harbour Trust to understand the vision of its constituents for the future of the area. While doing so they were able to connect the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to a previously inaccessible demographic.
Terms to Know
The notion of smart Tourism comes as a result of the European Union’s Smart Tourism Directive, which looks to “promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices”. Before taking a deep dive into smart tourism we must first assess tourism as a concept. Tourism is commonly broken down to five core elements known as the Five A’s of tourism (Accessibility, Accommodation, Amenities, Attractions and Activities).
- Accessibility – This relates closely to how accessible a particular city is – be it digitally or physically. It is for this reason that smart tourism destinations can create somewhat of an equity amongst those who live there. Tourist Information Centres will be a primary focus for this concept. Is the tourist information centre clearly identified and/or accessible? Does it use some kind of feedback system and promote visitor engagement in service provision?
- Accommodation – Has the perfect tourist environment been created to facilitate a greater capacity for activities? According to Visit Britain the majority of these activities will be booked before entering the country, highlighting the need for effective infrastructure to facilitate holidaymakers.
- Amenities – This is the “cherry on top” – it encompasses all the additional services provided by a tourist destination. Visitor and Tourist Information Centres will be the focus here.
- Attractions – Phocuswright has claimed that one third of people value travel as a pastime and that it would be their prerogative in terms of disposable income spending. Travellers will only visit locations which possess a distinct characteristic and are worth travelling to.
- Activities – Most importantly, your visitors will need something to do. If you lack the natural resources to provide a range of activities, then you should look towards the artificial. But, before you do anything ensure you get feedback from your visitors!
By interpreting the 5 A’s of tourism into the context of smart tourism we can see clearly the potential for citizen and participatory technology, to further enhance the overall tourist experience in a region.
How can smart tourism help you?
Smart tourism can be said to hold benefits in three mean areas: economic, environmental and socio-cultural. The economic benefits of smart tourism come as a result of an injection of revenue into the infrastructure of a destination. This injection helps increase the competitiveness of that region through use of digital technologies. The environmental aspect ties in closely with sustainability in that smart tourist destinations usually involve systems that allow for self-sufficiency (e.g green areas, improved water and air quality and sustainable mobility). Finally, the socio-cultural aspect refers to the hedonic value created indirectly through smart tourism initiatives. People want to engage and co-create the area in which they live, giving them the option to do so will in turn increase their quality of life and reduce the risk of wasted resources.
Analysing Smart Tourism
You’re probably thinking to yourself “How can you judge a city’s intelligence?”. The assessment criteria is broken into four main areas on which the smart tourism solution is judged.
- This aspect refers to how inclusive the measures being implemented are for the overall population of a town or city (this includes people with special needs as well as their social and economic standing).
- Accessibility also refers to the physical accessibility and relates to mobility (public transport) and how strong and wide the network is.
- The services provided to tourists must be accessible and information on these services readily interpretable in all languages.
- Are these services available to everyone?
- On a more technical side, how accessible are the web aspects of your city, tour booking sites, hotels restaurants, public amenities or exhibitions, are they readily available on a platform with a good user interface?
- Are these smart tourism apps intuitive in some way?
- This is probably the most important factor when assessing the city overall. Is the implemented strategy durable over time and have the implementations been decided on with a long term vision in mind?
- How smart and feasible are these measures?
- The city should be working to preserve and enhance the natural environment, resources and balancing economic and socio-cultural development. How are you managing natural resources (including innovative environmentally-friendly measures) as a tourism destination? Is the city implementing resource efficiency measures and actions aimed at combating, or adapting to climate change. The London Legacy Development Corporation worked with Hello Lamp Post to develop a sustainable and thriving neighbourhood in East London. One of the main goals of this project was to create a reference point for visitors to gain information on a number of redevelopment sites which was made possible through the seamless integration with Hello Lamp Post’s solution.
- This concept extends even further – are you putting in place measures aimed at reducing tourism seasonality?
- Are you working on involving the local community and promoting community engagement? Are the revenues earned re-invested in local communities, are you undergoing a human centric approach to understand what areas consumers want to see this money invested in? Are local tourism revenues channelled into local development, communities and businesses? This could be perfectly in Hello Lamp Post’s deployment in
- How does your city support businesses and local communities to develop sustainable solutions or collaborations for the tourism industry?
- Have the correct measures been implemented to positively impact local business and local communities, tangible and, where possible, measurable impacts of the implementations? On the Maritime Mile in Belfast Hello Lamp Post implemented a solution to help increase footfall, visitor dwell times and obtain citizen feedback. The project was awarded ‘Best Use of Digital Technology to Improve the Visitor Experience’ at the 2019 Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.
- Being a digital tourism city means offering innovative tourism and hospitality information, products, services, spaces and experiences adapted to the needs of the consumers through ICT-based solutions and digital tools.
- The city must be shown to be providing digital information about the destination, its attractions and tourism offers.
- Is your information on public transport, attractions and accommodation digitally accessible? An environment should be created in which businesses have a digital-friendly support network to develop in.
- Are you supporting tourism businesses in their development and making use of digital skills and tools? Hello Lamp Post’s deployment in Bristol showcases the perfect example of leveraging digital skills and tools to enhance citizen engagement, see for yourself.
- Do you use digital solutions for enhancing innovative tourism offers?
Creative and Cultural Heritage
- Is your city making resourceful use of its cultural heritage and creative industries to enrich tourism experience and quality of life?
- What actions are you implementing to boost the recognition of your city as a smart tourism destination and to incorporate the tangible and intangible heritage of your art, history and culture in its centre and surroundings, in your enhanced tourism offer? The Arts Centre in Mesa Arizona was home to a Hello Lamp Post project directly aimed at promoting creative opportunities around the local area. Hello Mesa showcased how Hello Lamp Post’s technology can be used to make informed decisions on how local heritage should be showcased.
- How do you use cultural heritage and creativity to attract tourists, as well as exploit synergies between tourism and cultural and creative industries? Hello Lamp Post was able to aid this process during the “Big Bugs Tour” in INTU in the U.K by adding a playful experiential layer to the tour.
If you think your city could be in with a chance apply here.
Your Next Smart Tourism Destination
Let’s look at some examples of great smart tourism destinations:
Malaysia – Smart Tourism Malaysia – “Advances in digital technology are impacting how people travel, demanding tourism-related businesses to transform the way they operate” – said Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister for Tourism who has headed the Smart Tourism 4.0 initiative in Malaysia which has received outstanding praise from a global audience. The project’s main aim was to overcome urban challenges but at a local level as is shown on the smart city Malaysia website. The 92 indicators used in the project’s formation have performed above and beyond their initial intentions and have been regarded as a resounding success.
Gothenburg – Gothenburg is a small town in Sweden that has for the last four years been recognised as the European Capital of Smart Tourism. The town of 533,00 has received continuous investment in smart city technology over the last number of years, allowing it to grow from smart to smarter. These investments were mainly centred around sustainability and improving the lives of both the citizens and visitors in the town. Gothenburg is currently developing a strategy to become the first region in the world with fully zero-emission transport solutions , find out more at Smart City Sweden.
Malaga – The €31 million SmartCity Malaga project looked to implement a renewable energy solution for the people in the Spanish municipality, made up of half a million citizens. This solution took the form of LED lighting to save energy, installing more than 35 km of cycle paths and an app that allows people who are visually impaired to get tickets, interpret information and request assistance. The overall goal of this project was to strengthen Spain’s position as a global tourist destination which they have done to great avail.
Applying A Human-centric Approach to Smart Tourism
This is where we come in. Hello Lamp Post have shown their ability in the past to enable smart tourism destinations, to delve into the thoughts and ideas of their visitors through their innovative AI conversational tool. But don’t take our word for it, listen to what our client at the Sydney Harbour Trust had to say:
“This innovative and fun technology has provided another avenue for the Harbour Trust to connect with our community and visitors. It provides a simple and engaging way for visitors to discover more about Harbour Trust sites and also allows us to gain important insights into the visitor experience and obtain broad community feedback on Harbour Trust projects.” – Kathryn Roberts, Director of Marketing and Visitor Experience at the Harbour Trust
Long gone are the days of traditional city design. Humans are now the focal point for local planners and tourist engagement boards alike. Data has now become a more valuable asset than water and a responsibility is now on governing bodies to ensure resources are being positioned effectively so as to maximise benefit for residents and visitors alike. We here at Hello Lamp Post believe we can improve and enhance this process. Contact us using our contact form here.Back