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Smart Tourism: the bet of Smart Cities

3 min. reading
Smart cities / 27 October, 2021

Karla García Gil Journalist

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The Smart Cities phenomenon has impacted several industries, including the tourism industry, whose objective is to move towards smart destinations.

A smart tourism destination is one whose main feature is innovation, based on a robust technological infrastructure, which allows improving the traveler’s experience by adapting to their needs and offering them information in real time, as well as personalized products. In addition, the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) helps to optimize efficiency in the management of public services such as transportation, which allows for a more comfortable and fluid mobility.

By applying the concept of intelligence in tourist destinations, they undoubtedly increase their level of competitiveness.

Advantages of technology as a way to facilitate tourism

Advantages of technology as a way to facilitate tourism

Applying technological advances to developing industries has achieved a boost in them. The use of mobile phones, the internet of things, voice assistants and augmented reality are just some of the new technologies that have been adapted to this industry. What are the benefits it brings to the industry?

Examples of smart destinations

The importance of tourism as a strategic economic activity for Latin American countries, hand in hand with the Smart Cities in the region, the concept of smart tourism arises.

In this sense, the city of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco, received certification by the State Society for Information Management and Tourism Technologies (Segittur) of Spain, as the first smart tourist destination in Mexico and Latin America.

Tequila offers free wifi service in its historic center, to which around 300,000 people connect each year. It also has an app, which contains relevant information on products and services of the town, so that visitors know the options available to them. It also has a Big Data system, which informs travelers in real time about vehicular traffic and commercial activities.

On the other hand, the city has advanced in the use of clean energies such as solar energy, thus reducing its carbon footprint in some daily, commercial and tourist activities.

Continuing with examples in Latin America, the city of Buenos Aires has a Tourist Intelligence System based on Big Data, free wifi and other urban solutions such as interactive maps for tourist use.

But smart destinations are spreading throughout the world. For example, in Spain, El Hierro, has become the first Smart Island in the world by achieving energy self-sufficiency and decreasing its pollution levels, this thanks to the generation of electricity through garbage, among other actions such as the replacement of brick by volcanic stone in the construction sector.

Another smart tourism case in the world is Singapore, which has focused on the development of smart communities driven by digitalization and innovation. There, tourists have apps that inform them about crime rates by area, notifications about missing persons, emergency institutions such as police or hospitals, and information based on their geopositioning.

Key points for the consolidation of a smart tourism

  • State-of-the-art technological infrastructure, which guarantees sustainable development and promotes equal accessibility.
  • Free internet access on the street and in public places.
  • Public electric mobility as an alternative to traditional private transportation.
  • Promotion of a more ecological and sustainable tourism.
  • Attention to health or security emergencies through mobile applications.
  • Real-time information for timely decision making, such as vehicle flows and public transportation incidents.
  • Facilitating the interaction and integration of visitors with their surroundings.
  • Innovative and interactive cultural activities, such as visiting monuments and museums with virtual reality.
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