BU launches eTourism Lab

Bournemouth University is launching the eTourism Lab (eTL) at the World Travel Market 2011.

This exciting new research Lab will explore cutting edge information and communication technologies, alongside e-based strategic management and marketing for the tourism and hospitality industries. The eTourism lab’s mission is to push back the barriers of knowledge on eTourism and through Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) empower policy making and strategic competitive advantage.

The Lab is led by Bournemouth University’s Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, who’s currently President of the International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel and Tourism (IFITT). Professor Buhalis said: “As Information Communication Technologies become globally pivotal both commercial and public organisations are increasingly depending on their ability to embrace, foster and develop information technology for achieving competitive advantage and implementing strategy.”

The eTourism Lab will reside within the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research (ICTHR) in the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University. The School has a long tradition of generating research output in the information technology and information systems field and the formation of the Lab demonstrates the university’s commitment to this field.

Professor Buhalis continued: “Bournemouth University is in the cutting edge of eTourism research and is working closely with international organisations to create agile solutions and dynamic innovations. Technology will be critical for competitive advantage and our research will have great relevance and global impact”.

The eTourism Lab will offer global excellence in the field of eTourism in the widest possible sense which includes eTravel, eTransport, eHospitality and eCatering/Food. In addition it will research how social media is becoming critical for organisations to communicate effectively and compete globally.

The Lab will generate synergies with the newly established MSc in eTourism; it will engage with multiple stakeholders and will also enable the School to be recognised as one of the key research organisations in this field. Academic members include Dr Philip Alford, Dr Soo Jun, Dr Miguel Moital, Dr Christos Gatzidis and researchers include John Fotis, Nicolas Gregori, Barbara Neuhofer, Andrew Spencer, Ivana Rihova, Soultana Symeonidou, Georgina Sekadakis, Zornitza Yovcheva and Luca Smiroldo.

A number of projects on eTourism Marketing, Social Media and eConsumer Behaviour are currently underway. The eTL reflects increasing global interest from bodies such as the World Tourism Organisation, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the European Commission in the wide range of implications of ICTs. The eTL aims to provide research results, which will facilitate both policy making at the macro level as well as strategic tools for optimising competitiveness and maximising profitability at the micro level. The eTL will collaborate globally in developing this pioneering vision and strategy.