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World Tourism Day

Today is World Tourism Day. In 2017, 1,323 million arrivals were registered and about US $1,332 billion generated. The touristic sector employs about 10% of jobs worldwide. Economic growth is expected until 2030 (http://media.unwto.org/content/infographics).

Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. It offers job opportunities, sources of income and cultural exchange, but at the same time it increases the amount of waste (especially plastic waste) and pollution of the environment.

Sustainable tourism creates job opportunities and while it also focuses on environmental protection and reduction of social impacts, so that sustainable tourism arises an awareness for the fragile ecosystems of the earth. Furthermore, ecotourism is an alternative to mass tourism by saving natural and social resources.

This year’s theme of World Tourism Day is “Tourism and Digital Transformation”. Technology and Digitalisation are seen as most influential tool to reform tourism towards a sustainable and digitalized tourism. Technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence, digital platforms, Wi-Fi connectivity and internet of things, manage touristic flows and transform the way tourists book hotels and transportation.

Digital Transformation gives individual tourists the opportunity to choose sustainable transport options. The aspect of a smart tourist and a sustainable travel involves an individually planed travel and s/he inform her/himself through Information and Communication Technologies. In doing so, the tourist is interactive with the real space as well as with the virtual one and reproduce his environment in a new way of digitalised connectivity (Graziano, 2014).

Basically, digitalisation is a matter of collecting data and creating information. In addition, there is communication, exchange and the opportunity to participate in nature conservation projects or to obtain information and sustainable lifestyles, including travelling and smart and sustainable behaviour as tourist. However, these various possibilities also pose challenges.

In future, digitalised travelling will be more comfortable for tourists. Sustainable tourism can provide long-term attractiveness by sustainable manage of protected areas. Digital transformation keeps the potential to make local conditions in the touristic areas more sustainable and ecological. Ecotourism helps to communicate this added-value of nature and to intensify the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity and to increase environmental awareness.

 

More information: http://wtd.unwto.org/content/world-tourism-day-2018

Boosting Innovation and Development? The Italian Smart Tourism: A Critical Perspective

Teresa GRAZIANO University of Sassari, Department of Human and Social Sciences, Sassari, Italy

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