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Tourism & Technology
The unending journey of an evolution
Tourism Industry : Growth &
Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and
diversification, becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors
in the world.
The number of international arrivals shows an evolution from a mere 25 million
international arrivals in 1950 to an estimated 806 million in 2005, corresponding to
an average annual growth rate of 6.5%.
According to Tourism Towards 2030, UNWTO‟s recently updated, long-term outlook
and assessment of future tourism trends, the number of international tourist arrivals
worldwide is expected to increase by 3.3% a year on average from 2010 to 2030.
This represents some 43 million more international tourist arrivals every year,
reaching a total of 1.8 billion arrivals by 2030.
Based on the information from countries with data available, tourism‟s contribution
to worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at some 5%. Tourism‟s
contribution to employment tends to be slightly higher and is estimated in the order
of 6-7% of the overall number of jobs worldwide (direct and indirect).
For advanced, diversified economies, the contribution of tourism to GDP ranges
from approximately 2% for countries where tourism is a comparatively small sector,
to over 10% for countries where tourism is an important pillar of the economy. For
small islands and developing countries, the weight of tourism can be even larger,
accounting for up to 25% in some destinations.
Technology : An indispensible
Technology has always had an important bearing on the growth &
prospects of this sector.
Innovations in transportation and communication technologies have
rendered geographical barriers rather meaningless.
The importance of information technology in tourism, especially of the
World Wide Web, has increased tremendously over the past years and
this trend will certainly continue.
There are currently an estimated 1.8 billion internet users globally. There
has been substantial growth in all world regions, with regions like Africa
and the Middle East both recording growth of over 1,600% in the last 9
Asia and the Pacific remain in the top position with over 760 million,
representing over 40% of the total worldwide online population.
Accordingly, various high tech information and communication
technologies are in use in the tourism sector around the world. They are
used for tourism product development, marketing, distribution and
training of tourism sector personnel.
These technologies are so indispensable in order to find out and satisfy
the ever-changing demands for tourism products.
Tourism Industry: Components
Attraction sector which
comprises manmade and
natural attractions which are
developed to satisfy visitors
aesthetic needs etc.
Advertising sector, which
includes advertising through
mass media and the Internet.
Accommodation sector, all
types of establishments that
offers lodging to visitors
(Hotel, Motel, Guest houses,
Transport sector, which
includes air, water and
Technology: The underlying
The attraction owners particularly the national tourist offices discharge their
duty of promoting their country‟s tourist attractions using the information
technology products. Information through promotional videos, Internet web
Sites, television advertisements and travel documentaries are the main
information dissemination tools.
Any individual or group wishing to travel to any part of the world now has an
easy access to the accommodation service providers. A visitor can access
information about the kind of hotels at the destination, their ranges of product,
the price and other relevant information without leaving his/her office or home.
The information can be obtained aided by still or moving pictures in order to
give an exact feature of an accommodation, facilities and services of ones
choice. At a destination also visitors are at ease during their stay in every
respect, in getting information about their business, family or other information
back home. They are also at ease to relax with the videos and television
entertainment programs, which nowadays are part and parcel of many
Travel and tourism fit especially well with interactive media because they are
an information intensive industry where transactions can be made online, and
current Web users are heavy users of travel and tourism products and
services. Interactive media calls for interactive marketing. “The essence of
interactive marketing is the use of information from the customer rather than
about the customers”. It differs from traditional marketing since it is based on a
dialogue instead of a one-way communication, and it deals with individual
consumers instead of mass markets.
Technology: The underlying
Transport provides the essential link between tourism origin and
destination areas and facilitates the movement of travellers. An
Airplane flies with the help of modern information technology
equipment, which provides information ranging from weather,
altitude and other information to the pilot to communication made
during emergency by the pilot with other airplanes and air traffic
In-flight entertainment is also a product of information technology,
video games, video films are examples. In the case of
buses/coaches and taxis, in many countries with developed tourism
business, they are equipped with radio communication systems for
various uses. This communication ensures the safety of tourists.
Fast and easy information flow is of paramount importance to build
confidence in the traveling public. In recent years, the confidence
built due to the use of modern IT has been demonstrated by a
tremendous increase in the number of travelers worldwide.
Recent advances in mobile computing, computer
graphics, wireless and sensor technologies are rapidly
changing the face of tourism industry by enhancing the
Further, globalization of technologies has ensured fast
spread of innovations to farthest corners of the world.
Increased interconnectivity and technology revolution
have meant consolidation of fragmented tourism
products, cost effectiveness and enhancement of
forecasting techniques for tourism product sellers. For
consumers it has meant ease of purchase and
availability of quantity & quality of organized information.
For example, mobile phones & related technologies are
fast becoming an inseparable part of human life. And
for travellers these technologies by having transformed
the search for information into a more interactive and
fast process, have become an indispensible companion
in travel plans.
New & Innovative
• A data mining type of software
• Uses the power of customer databases to identify customers who
have similar profiles like preferences, interests, and travel patterns,
etc. based on previously accumulated customer knowledge.
• The findings are used for direct marketing. E.g.: Amazon.com
• Also a form of data mining.
• This software rests on the belief that people live busy lives and
want other people to look after their needs.
• This type of software tracks and monitors the preferences and
purchasing behaviors of consumers.
• Thus, it can customize products/services based on needs and
preferences and perform direct marketing accordingly.
• Based on the belief that people want more choices but they just do
not want to be burdened with those choices.
• This type of software takes criteria set by customers and goes into
digital databases. It then gets available choices for the customers.
• This type of software not only automatically finds information for
customers but also narrows down the choices and lets customers
find the best deal.
New & Innovative
• Enables electronic transactions.
• Simplifies a very complex buying-payment process, bypasses
intermediaries, lowers the entry barriers into the tourism industry and
• Assists in monitoring causal relationships to understand the
relationship between the effect of ads and purchase patterns.
• Virtual reality displays three-dimensional worlds.
• Web casting provides online live videos and events
• People obtain an accurate view of the destination before they visit it.
• Well formulated expectations of what they will see at their travel
• The technology works by using computers of special kind and leased
telephone lines. The travel agent is connected on line to the central
host computer system or CRS.
• In this system it is possible that airliners, Hotels and car rental
companies can talk to the travel agent and vise versa.
• This system contributes to a great extent in increasing sales volume
and giving precise information on the availability and selling the
products efficiently ensuring substantial profit gain.
New & Innovative
• Distribute reservation, and information services to sales outlets
around the world.
• Link several airlines and travel principals into a complex network of
PCs, telecommunications and large mainframe computers.
• The end users comprise travel agents with a single reservation
system to support the sale of airline seats and related travel products
such as hotel and car hire, via Personal Computer.
• GIS applications in tourism have been confined to recreational facility
inventory, tourism-based land management, visitor impact
assessment, and recreation-wildlife conflict.
• Site-specific information about sources of visitors origin and
destination, travel motivation, spatial patterns of recreation and
tourism use, visitor expenditure patterns, levels of use and impacts,
and suitability of sites for recreation/tourism development
Virtual Reality to Augmented
Until recently, Virtual Reality (VR) technologies were one of the most
The basic idea was the total immersion of the user in a virtual world
generated by a computer.
Although this concept is currently one of the most popular with multiple
application domains, the main disadvantage of VR is that there is no
relationship between the user and the real world.
Therefore, Augmented Reality technologies are becoming increasingly
popular, not only among the scientific community but also for the general
Recent advances in mobile computing, computer graphics, wireless and
sensor technologies allow for the fast development of Augmented Reality
(AR) applications on smartphones.
A visual AR system enhances or augments the surroundings of the user
with virtual information that is registered in 3D space and seems to co-
exist with the real world.
Unlike traditional AR devices, such as head-mounted displays (HMDs)
and mobile laptops, smartphones combine all necessary technologies for
augmentation in one small device. This is also the first medium to
introduce AR to the mass market which has enormous potential for
In a typical GPS-based smartphone AR application
for outdoor use, the user points the device towards
physical objects in her surroundings.
She is then able to see additional virtual information
overlaid on top of the real-world camera view through
The type of content and amount of information within
the virtual annotations varies amongst applications
and can include video, images, text or symbols for
different types of landmarks.
Available data includes descriptions of tourist
attractions, restaurants and monuments. Other useful
information, such as Wi-Fi spots, ATMs, car parks,
transportation, local news items, and weather can
also be displayed in AR-view. Several available
applications allow access to geo-coded user-
generated content, such as tweets, videos and
photos, as well as comments and recommendations
Compared with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality enhances the
real world instead of replacing it. The user can view the real world
enhanced with additional 3D graphics superimposed to his/her
field of view.
Museums and art galleries already use digital technologies for the
collection, preservation, exploration and diffusion of Arts and
However, parallel to the development of the concept of cultural
park, Augmented Reality technologies are gaining a great
importance on the virtual reconstruction of historical monuments,
helping curators, archaeologists or historians to reproduce on site
historical places as they were in their golden period.
It is obvious that applications within the Arts and Cultural Heritage
should fulfill different requirements, such as the attractiveness and
user-friendliness for the user, an educational value, the reusability
of the data and the global availability.
In the future, it will be possible to walk without a human guide
through an exhibition, museum or historical site, exploring the
environment and getting personalized information about the profile
of each visitor.
Among the cyclical succession of symbolic terms that have become part of global tourism
discourse, „innovation‟ and „technological change‟ have started to occupy a privileged place
and it is highly likely that they are here to stay.
As technology is evolving faster than ever before, it has made most travellers around the
world much more technology-savvy than in the past.
The internet has revolutionized the tourism industry more than any other factor in the last few
Also, as more people are connected to each other, with access to the vast pool of
information available online, an increasing number of travelers are seeking information via
the internet prior to making any travel decisions.
The advances in connectivity and processing power that have been made in ICT in recent
years are undeniable.
At the same time the „smart world‟ in which we live whose landscape –albeit in a permanent
process of evolution is becoming friendlier, offering clearer, solutions which serve to reduce
time and money and opening new paths towards the personalization of products and
Today, tourism activity is increasingly being shaped by price comparison and combination
technology; new applications for mobiles that offer a wide range of opportunities are being
developed; social networks are consolidating themselves within a more transparent market
in which citizens are able to provide services together; changes in the concept of the value
chain are producing new business models.