UN World Tourism Organisation discusses technology & social media as tool for competitive tourism at conference
Bournemouth University Professor Dimitrios Buhalis chaired the conference and advised countries on how to use social media and technology to boost tourist trade
Technology and social media are becoming critically important tools for successful international tourism.
This has been recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the Minister of Tourism in Costa Rica, who organised a Technical Seminar on Tourism and New Technologies.
Delegates came from 22 countries – including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the Bahamas – and the conference discussed how tourism has been influenced by the latest technological breakthroughs, as well as the opportunities that lie ahead.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Director of the e-Tourism Lab at Bournemouth University (BU), chaired the seminar, which took place in Costa Rica.
A tourism marketing expert who specialises in e-tourism and technology, he chaired panels looking at the internet, social media and mobile marketing in relation to tourism.
He also trained delegates – who included 12 tourism ministers – on how to use technology and social media to increase the competitiveness of their tourism industry.
Professor Buhalis said: “It is gratifying that increasingly the international tourism industry and governments from around the world, as well as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, recognise how technology can support the competitiveness of the tourism destinations and organisations.
“Cutting edge research and solutions we develop at Bournemouth University provide technological tools such as social media, augmented reality and gaming to enable organisations to dynamically engage with consumers and facilitate co-creation of products and value in the marketplace.”
Professor Buhalis added that social media is reversing tourism marketing strategies, with consumers becoming advocates and ambassadors for products around the world.
He believes that mobile technologies can make interaction between organisations and consumers dynamic and agile – revolutionising engagement and economic benefits.
“Only those organisations that are able and willing to use these tools in an agile will be able to develop their competitiveness in the future and generate prosperity for their stakeholders,” he said.
“I am glad that Latin American countries are committed to develop their knowledge through our expertise, and innovate in order to maximise their benefits.”
Other speakers at the seminar included executives from Google, Trip Advisor and Expedia Latin America.
The seminar took place in San Jose, Costa Rica on May 14 and 15.
May 4 – 11 2013, Croatia
Professor Adele Ladkin was invited to participate in the 8th International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea (ITHAS), a week long sea voyage incorporating academic lectures and site visits based on the theme of Special Interest Tourism.
Founded in 2005 and held in 2013 for the eighth time, ITHAS 2013 was hosted by the Faculty of Economics & Business of the University of Zagreb. 108 people participated in the study voyage from four participating universities. These were the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Economics and Business, Croatia; Munich University of Applied Sciences, Department of Tourism, Germany; Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, School of Tourism and Services Management, Finland; and University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics, Slovenia. The programme was expertly put together by the founder of ITHAS, Professor Nevenka Čavlek from the University of Zagreb, with the boats provided by the tour operator I.D. Riva Tours.
The purpose of ITHAS is diverse. It gives students the opportunity to undertake site study visits to experience first hand the operational aspects of tourism, students benefit from academic lectures from international tourism experts, and the bringing together of the different universities on the boats allows for cultural exchange and practice in working with diverse cultural groups.
The 108 participants sailed on four boats, with each day typically involving lectures during the sailing times, with site excursions on foot and by bus when each destination was reached. Destinations included Makarska, Ploče, The Island of Brač, Vodice and Zadar in Croatia, and Medugorje Pilgrimage Site and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The students from each university also gave presentations of their home universities and a review of tourism in their respective countries.
The voyage ended in Zadar on May 11th, in time to join with the International conference ‘Myths of Tourism’ organised jointly by the University of Zadar and the University of Zagreb.
Professor Ladkin said “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students. We had a packed schedule with many different activities and learning experiences. We all agreed it was an extremely worthwhile trip. The weather was also kind to us, with calm Seas!”
During the voyage, Professors Ladkin and Čavlek undertook a pilot study for their forthcoming research on experiences of maritime entrepreneurs in tourism being undertaken in collaboration with I.D.Riva Tours.Read More
This knowledge partnership will lead to insights into cutting edge research conducted by the different researchers from the eTourism Lab.
In the next months, best practice research on a variety of e-tourism topics will be shared on the Digital Tourism Think Tank website.
Marketers and tourism professionals will be able to benefit from insights into cutting edge topics and see how destinations and tourism organisations can put the knowledge into practice.
The Bournemouth University eTourism Lab explores cutting edge information and communication technologies, alongside e-based strategic management and marketing for the tourism and hospitality industries.
Led by Professor Dimitrios Buhalis who is also currently the President of the International Federation of Information Technology for Travel and Tourism (IFITT) the Lab is emerging as a research centre of global excellence.
What topics will be featured in the future?
- Context based mobile marketing
- ICT usage in China and Smart City Destinations
- Technology enhanced tourist experiences
- Augmented reality
- Service of Now
The Digital Tourism Think Tank commented that they are “pleased to provide a platform for cutting edge researchers that are doing great work in tourism research. Knowing what is happening in the industry and getting much needed insights into the latest trends and technologies is absolutely crucial.”
We look forward to sharing with you more information from this exciting partnership.
For more information on the Digital Tourism Think Tank please see here www.thinkdigital.travelRead More
As part of the Festival of Learning, Dimitrios Buhalis will be hosting an “eTourism innovations in the digital era” event on Monday 10th June.
The event will take place from 1.30pm – 6.30pm and will be based at the Talbot Campus of Bournemouth University.
The Digital Era requires tourism organisations and destinations to use Information Communication Technologies and adopt eTourism innovations to strengthen their competitiveness.
This event gives the opportunity to show case research undertaken by the eTourism Lab at the School of Tourism, Bournemouth University and engage in dialogue with tourism, travel, hospitality, as well as technology and marketing professionals on the emerging innovations in the marketplace.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis will ensure that there will be great interactivity and also networking will take place prior to the event on Facebook and on a social gathering at the Slug and Lettuce Pub in Bournemouth after the event.
To sign up to the event please see here
For more information on the Festival of Learning including other events please see hereRead More
ITT has recently announced that Bournemouth University has become the latest ITT Centre of Excellence.
ITT created the Centres of Excellence status to recognise leading universities keen on working particularly closely with the Institute.
Universities with Centre of Excellence status will be able to use a dedicated logo, receive support in organising industrial placements, have access to high level industry speakers, have access to senior industry figures for research purposes and will grant an annual ITT Centre of Excellence Student of the Year award to a student identified by the university.
School of Tourism Dean Keith Wilkes commented “The School of Tourism at Bournemouth University aims to secure accreditation for all its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes by 2018 and recognition as an ITT Centre of Excellence is an important and much-valued part of the process.”
For more information on the benefits of being a ITT Centre of Excellence please see hereRead More
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis has recently returned from two conferences regarding African tourism.
Firstly the United Nations World Tourism Organisation UNWTO conference in Tunisia: “International Conference on “Current Challenges and Issues of African Tourism: What solutions can be adopted to ensure its competitiveness?”” and the UNWTO Commission for Africa Fifty-fourth meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, 24-26 April 2013
During the UNWTO Commission for Africa, Dimitrios presented the opportunities and challenges for African Tourism to the delegates.
For more information on Professor Dimitrios visit please see here
For more information on the conference please see here