ENTER 2012, the annual IT and Tourism conference, was held from 24th to 27th January 2012 in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Organised by IFITT, the leading international organisation for information technologies in travel and tourism, this conference is the biggest tourism IT and travel related event of the year, attracting 300 delegates from more than 40 countries, covering all continents. This edition had 150 presenters, which attended the conference to discuss the present and the future of eTourism. Overall, the event included 6 keynotes, 51 research papers, 59 industry presentations, 16 PhD-student presentations and 14 presentations on the Scandinavian day.
IFITT President Professor Dimitrios Buhalis stated that “ENTER has again identified the most important developments in tourism and technology. It is evident from the presentations that social media is becoming the most critical communication tool for organizations to engage dynamically with consumers. Applications which are location and context aware and facilitate a range of sensors also emerge to provide dynamic solution for the travellers. Perhaps the future will emerge through innovations in augmented reality and gamification where the virtual will blend with the real world. This will enable tourism and travel organizations to co-create memorable experiences with – rather than for – tourists, throughout their journey from inspiration to travel experience and post-trip sharing in the social world.”
Rodolfo Baggio, ENTER2012 Chair said: “A wonderful team has been able to provide a well-balanced and high-quality program. Good and insightful presentations from academia, industry and destinations have given the audience examples and ideas. The social program, and the Swedish hospitality has then helped strengthening the most important aspect of the whole IFITT community: the willingness to work together for the advancement of the field.”
During ENTER2012 KLM was awarded with the prestigious IFITT innovation award for their innovations on social media marketing and state -of-the art approach in customer service via social media in airline industry. Additional IFITT Awards were presented: the Hannes Werthner Tourism and Technology Lifetime Achievement Award to Inkeri Starry from Regional Council of Lapland (Finland), Dr. Carlos Lamsfus from Cic-Tourgune (Spain) won the Thesis Excellence Award, while Malgorzata Ogonowska (Poland) won the best PHD proposal Award. ENTER2012 Best Paper Award was presented to Ada Lo, Joey Wu and Rob Law (Hong Kong Polytechnic University); Andrew Lepp, Heather Gibson, Charles Lane won the Journal Paper of the Year Award for a study entitled: Image and perceived risk – A study of Uganda and its official tourism website published in Tourism Management. Finally, John Fotis won the picture competition with a prize offered by the Thailand Tourism Board.