Focus on smart tourism at World Travel Market

EW dropped in on World Travel Market, 5 November, where destinations around the world showcased their latest campaigns and news.

2The entirety of ExCeL London was in use, with a programme of seminars and keynotes accompanying exhibitors spread across each hall.

EW sat in on a panel discussion on the topic of smart tourism, moderated by the World Tourism Cities Federation.

Professor Dimitrious Buhalis (pictured top left), Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism & Hospitality Research at Bournemouth University, gave a definition of ‘smart tourism’. He explained that it is not just the use of advanced technology in the tourism industry, but the integration and connection of all aspects of the tourism experience.

Developments in the internet of things, data and 5G wi-fi mean tourists are increasingly able to be co-creators rather than consumers. Buhalis added: “Smart tourism is creating a totally new ecosystem. For destinations, it is not a matter of if these technologies will come to prominence, but when.”




Tia Hallanaro, Director of Brand Communications & Brand Marketing at Helsinki Marketing, spoke about how the Finnish capital had partnered with Chinese tech giant TenCent. Together, the two groups had created a programme within ubiquitous Chinese app WeChat, which could provide Chinese tourists with live translation, wayfinding and recommendations to improve their tourism experience.

Miguel Sanz, Tourism Director at Madrid Destino, also spoke about how the Spanish city of Madrid had used gamification as part of a pioneering loyalty programme. The app, which was intended to convert business travellers into repeat leisure travellers, made use of a points system which allowed visitors to win prizes and upgrades, by partnering with a number of tourist attractions across the city.

More on the topics above can be found in the print edition of Exhibition World.