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.