Technology guiding the way to sustainable tourism?

24 November, 2018 0

How new technologies can contribute to a more global approach to sustainable tourism

The change of information and communication technology influenced the tourism industry dramatically and therefore, boosted innovative ideas for the development of the sector in unprecedented ways. Not only various applications were founded but also the growth of widespread usage of the Internet and Social Media channels is continuing.

On the 2nd World Conference on Smart Destinations #SCWC2018 8 (25-27 June 2018), held by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the spotlight was on the issue how destinations could and should use technology to establish sustainable tourism management.

Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili opened the conference with the words: “Technology helps us to manage our social, cultural and environmental impacts better. Moreover, if well managed, tourism can act as an agent of positive change for more sustainable lifestyles, destinations, and consumption and production patterns.”

The conference discussed and introduced technological advances like big data and geo-localization to shape new tourism models based on innovation, technology, sustainability, and accessibility.

What is more, for the World Tourism Day the UNWTO promoted their theme for 2018 on “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”.

How can the digital revolution be used to establish a sustainable tourism industry and to leave an impact? What are the growing economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation in tourism?  These are crucial questions to be addressed for 2018 in the tourism industry. The conference brought Startups, entrepreneurs, and academics together to discuss and work on ways to deliver smart, innovative and sustainable solutions to this sector.

It is comprehensible that a digitally advanced tourism sector has the power to drive further the inclusion in society, the efficient resource management and improve local communities and development opportunities. The question is how to approach this field of development, to achieve sustainability rather than only innovative technologies.

Such conferences and summits aim to explore, develop and endorse an alternative approach for sustainable tourism. Thus, it supports the proposition that sustainable tourism can become a useful concept in destination management through the innovative applications of information and communication technology and others.

There is no doubt – the digital revolution has already transformed our travel experiences and the way of ‘doing’ holidays. Technology allows us the easy approach to planning and eventually realizing our travel experiences. However, what lies beyond the practical fact of booking and sharing post-trip stories on social media channels? Might technology be useful to make the world a better place – to leave an impact? How can we use the digital revolution as a tool to create sustainable tourism?

One crucial start and part of the approach is the promotion and raising awareness of sustainable tourism and spreading it to the public — a vital clue that social impact startups of the tourism industry like Authenticitys seek to achieve through active blog posts and the promotion of sustainable experiences in cities.

Moreover, the experiences that Authenticitys offers, like the “Urban Regeneration E-Bicycle Tour” in Madrid, does not only provide the exploring of creativity and redevelopment of its urban spaces but also supports a project that contributes to reducing the CO2 emissions in the city. Using the innovative and creative technological process and being part of an eco-friendly and zero emissions activity is a step further to transform tourism into a sustainable industry.

“Going by E-bike is so much more fun and it allows you to see many things in the city in a rather quick way”, so a review about the Authenticity-tour that aims to provide an alternative and combines new technologies with sustainable tourism.

Providing sustainable management of tourism will be a necessary part of the future tourism industry to avoid ‘over tourism’, the degradation of local communities and finally ungrateful societies and businesses – unable to get the traveling masses and the rising demand under control.

In this sense, the UNWTO Affiliate Members published Global Report on the Transformative Power of Tourism, highlighting initiatives and the potential of the bespoke ‘transformative tourism’. An approach worth to look at and to create one’s perspective about this topic.

Fotos: ©UNWTO

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