Information and communication technologies (ICT) have generated a real revolution in the tourism industry. So much so that the way in which tourism products and services are produced, distributed, and consumed has changed. In addition, we have a new type of tourist (the digital tourist), hyperconnected and multi-channel, who is closely linked to mobile devices and the use of ICT in all phases of the trip. A renewed tourism scenario is thus emerging in which destinations and companies must act, adapting their strategies and management approaches.

Smart tourism and the buzzword: Smart

The smart concept has become a buzzword. Nowadays, it seems that almost everything can be referred to as smart or intelligent: Smart cities, Smart Destinations, Smart tv, Smartphone, smartwatch, and a very long etcetera. This concept implies the application of technology to improve the experience of an end-user, depending on the area of use.

It is also a new term in tourism. The basic premise of smart tourism is the application of technologies or smart solutions in all phases of the journey with the aim of improving the tourist experience and the management of the destination. It is therefore a different stage or phase of tourism in relation to the use of technology, where new levels of intelligence emerge in the destination thanks to data and its possibilities for generating knowledge. Smart technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes sensorisation processes that promote the development of this smart scenario, are applied for this purpose. Its main characteristic is the connection of the physical with the digital thanks to these technologies.

The term smart applied to management has its origins in cities. In the mid-1990s, faced with the problems of urban areas, urban managers coined the Smart City approach, a new paradigm of urban planning and management that would incorporate technology as a key element. After reaching its peak of maximum expectations, it began to be questioned due to an excessively technological conception.

The Smart Destination approach or Smart Tourism Destinations (STD), should be understood as the end result of the translation of the Smart City urban approach to tourist destinations. And here it takes on special relevance, as it allows destinations to evolve towards planning based on the generation of knowledge and innovation, again with a strong associated technological component. It is the perfect ally for 21st-century destinations, as it allows management to be reoriented towards the needs of the Smart Tourism scenario.

If you want to learn more about smart tourism and/or the STD management approach, take a look at the results of the project “Analysis of planning processes applied to smart cities and tourist destinations. Assessment and methodological proposal for tourist areas (CSO2017-82592-R). R+D+I PROJECTS CORRESPONDING TO THE STATE PROGRAMME FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND INNOVATION-ORIENTED TOWARDS THE CHALLENGES OF SOCIETY”. A project led by the University of Alicante in which the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Malaga, and the University of Oviedo have collaborated. All the info here.