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The tourism sector in Spain has undergone a significant evolution in recent years, adopting emerging technologies and innovative approaches to improve the experience of visitors and the quality of life of residents. Smart Tourism Destinations represent an emerging paradigm in this context, integrating innovation, technology and sustainability to create more efficient and attractive tourism environments. In this article, we will explore the concept of ITD, the role of SEGITTUR in its development and implementation, and examples of successful destinations in Spain.

Concept of Smart Tourism Destination

A Smart Tourism Destination is defined as an innovative destination that relies on an advanced technological infrastructure to ensure the sustainable development of the tourism territory. ITDs not only seek to improve the tourist experience, but also to increase the quality of life of local residents (SEGITTUR). This model is based on five fundamental axes:

  1. Governance: Implies efficient, transparent and participatory management, based on cooperation between the public and private sectors.
  2. Technology: Use of technological tools for destination management and optimization.
  3. Sustainability: Appropriate management of resources to ensure social, economic and environmental sustainability.
  4. Innovation: Application of innovative ideas in processes, systems and tourism products.
  5. Accessibility: Universal accessibility policies in tourism services and resources.

ITD Methodology and Manuals – The Role of SEGITTUR

SEGITTUR, a state-owned commercial company attached to the Secretary of State for Tourism, has been instrumental in the promotion and development of ITD in Spain. Its mission is to lead the digital transformation and innovation in the Spanish tourism sector, coordinating initiatives and providing technical and financial support to destinations seeking to adopt the ITD model.

One of SEGITTUR’s main contributions has been the development of the Smart Tourism Destinations Manual, which provides detailed guidance on the implementation of the DTI model. This manual is structured in three main blocks:

  1. Trends and Challenges: Reflects on current trends and challenges faced by tourism destinations, proposing innovative and sustainable responses.
  2. Methodological Foundations: Details the objectives, structure and strategic axes of the ITD model, as well as the requirements and monitoring indicators.
  3. Implementation Tools: Provides a set of practical tools, best practices and reflections on the future agenda (Global Tourism).

It has also published a Guide to Good Practices in Innovation for DTI, which highlights around 40 innovative initiatives in destinations such as Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia. This guide has a twofold objective: to present the main drivers of innovation and to compile concrete examples of good practices (Smart Travel News).

Network of Intelligent Tourism Destinations (DTI Network)

The Network of Smart Tourism Destinations (DTI Network) is a key initiative coordinated by SEGITTUR, whose main objective is to foster cooperation and knowledge sharing among member tourism destinations. This network is based on the premise that collaboration and effective communication between different destinations can enhance the successful implementation of the DTI model throughout Spain.

Objectives of the DTI Network

The Network of Smart Tourism Destinations (DTI Network) has several key objectives. One of them is knowledge transfer, which facilitates the exchange of information and experiences between destinations. This allows those that have already advanced in the implementation of the DTI model to share their learning and best practices with other destinations that are in the initial stages.

Another objective is to promote cooperation among tourism destinations to address common challenges together, creating synergies that maximize the benefits of the DTI model. In addition, the DTI Network drives continuous innovation in tourism destination management by identifying and disseminating new technologies, approaches and solutions that can be adopted by all network members. Finally, it provides capacity building and training programs for destination managers, ensuring that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to implement and maintain the DTI model.

Benefits of the DTI Network

The benefits of the DTI Network are manifold. First, by sharing resources and knowledge, destinations can implement solutions more efficiently and effectively, avoiding duplication of effort and costs. This collaboration facilitates the adoption of best practices and the standardization of services, improving the quality of the experience for both tourists and residents.

In addition, member destinations can access technical and financial support provided by SEGITTUR and other entities, facilitating the implementation of innovative projects. Being part of the DTI Network also provides destinations with greater visibility and promotion at the national and international level, highlighting their efforts in innovation and sustainability.

Smart Destination Platform

The Smart Destination Platform is another crucial tool in the Smart Destination ecosystem. Designed to provide interoperability to the supply of tourism services, this platform facilitates a more efficient and scalable management of tourism resources.

Functionalities of the Smart Destination Platform

  1. Interoperability of Services: Allows the integration of different tourism services (accommodation, transportation, activities, etc.) in a unified platform, facilitating their management and improving the user experience.
  2. Data Analytics: Uses Big Data and predictive analytics technologies to collect and analyze real-time data on tourist behavior, enabling more informed and personalized decision making.
  3. Resource Management: Optimizes resource management through real-time monitoring, helping to reduce costs and improve environmental sustainability.
  4. Communication and Marketing: Facilitates direct communication with tourists, providing personalized information and recommendations based on their preferences and past behavior.
  5. Security and Emergencies: Improves security through continuous monitoring and the ability to respond quickly to emergency situations.

Advantages for Tourists and Residents

  • Improved Tourist Experience: The platform allows to offer tourists a more personalized and seamless experience, from planning their trip to their stay and activities in the destination.
  • Resident Benefits: The efficient management of resources and reduction of negative impacts of tourism contribute to improving the quality of life of local residents, ensuring that tourism is sustainable and beneficial for all.
  • Transparency and Participation: Promotes transparency in tourism management and enables the active participation of residents in decision-making, strengthening local governance.

Future challenges and opportunities for Smart Tourism Destinations

The Smart Tourism Destinations model faces several challenges, including adapting to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and integrating new technologies. These challenges require flexible management and the ability to respond quickly to maintain competitiveness and relevance in the global tourism market. However, these challenges also open up numerous opportunities, such as the development of advanced technological solutions that can significantly improve destination management and ensure long-term sustainability.

Innovation and emerging technologies offer powerful tools to optimize tourism processes, increase the quality of the visitor experience, and improve the quality of life of residents. In this context, tourism destinations in Spain are adapting and thriving under the ITD model, ensuring sustainable development of the territory and strengthening the technological infrastructure of the sector.

Bibliographic References

SEGITTUR. (2023). Destinos Turísticos Inteligentes. Recuperado de segittur.es​ (SEGITTUR)​​ (SEGITTUR)​​ (Smart Travel News)​.

TecnoHotel News. (2023). Los 5 ejes que definen los destinos turísticos inteligentes. Recuperado de tecnohotelnews.com​ (TecnoHotel)​.

Turismo Global. (2023). SEGITTUR presenta el Manual de Destinos Turísticos Inteligentes. Recuperado de turismo-global.com​ (Turismo Global)​.

Smart Travel News. (2023). SEGITTUR presenta la Guía de Buenas Prácticas en innovación para Destinos Turísticos Inteligentes. Recuperado de smarttravel.news​ (Smart Travel News)​.