Current world changes every single minute of our lives, carried on by new ideas and breakthroughs that -please, allow me to be optimistic despite the financial crisis- improve the old ways to create a brighter future. Respect towards our environment and a better use of resources are covering every corner of our life and soon will be regarded as a regular part of ourselves. Tourism -as the conscious mature industry that it is- doesn’t want to outcast itself from this new rewarding way of living and enjoying without spoiling.
A smart destination is a simple but complete idea: a place, a territory, that has a deep knowledge of its potential as a present or future must for any traveler and by adding 21st century technology in every aspect of awareness, usability and management of the value chain is able to define an integrated project based on sustainability. In other words, what makes any destination become smarter?
It knows itself, what makes it different -whether unique traditions, boundless creativity, killer landscapes or shopping paradises– and creates a common ground for technology to grow and develop. Many European countries are building up multilingual e-administration services to attend almost any need, based on prospective intelligent systems that connect closer with users thanks to the Internet. The management of this grid involves every actor of the industry under a precise strategy of innovation and respect resulting in a lower carbon footprint, resources optimization and energy saving along with better experiences and services for its visitors.
Environmental care is the third pillar -along with high-tech procedures synergy and self-identity- of landware; the smart value of any place. An improved organization of tourists flows -allowing cities, theme parks or vacation resorts to be less crowded and pollutant- and enhanced administration are essential to be named smart. Wise disposal of waste, massive usage of public green transportation and energy sources are indispensable too.
The smart tourist is up to our current world where the use of portable technology to ease and amuse our everyday matches perfectly our need and desire for efficient and better use of resources. The smart tourist wants to get involved when visiting new places, get to know local manners and life-style, willing to travel not just go on holidays. When walking around a smart destination, all kind of useful and interesting information, refined to your liking or needs, will pop up on your smartphone or tablet –maybe on your new iPad Mini?
This is a win-win deal. The destinations become more efficient leaning towards the direction pointed out by smart cities, improving their transportation -don’t think about a noisy expensive flashy monorail, go biking- and local services as well as their cultural and entertainment offer. For the tourist, nothing but advantages: easily accessible information in a greener better organized environment. Any kind of useful data, from chic parties to local history, available at any place you visit, integrated to your complete satisfaction. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, yes it does, but don’t forget to pay the green/tourism tax as you go home.
This smart way is so new that it’s still under development, we can’t find whole smart destinations yet, although major projects are on the go and its first steps have been here for a while. Very few years ago, you’d pay to join a bunch of fellow countrypeople on a tour through a museum or any monument in the world, following guide’s explanations and programmed schedule. Today, you rent a digital guide with headsets -soon to be substituted by a connection to your own device- with which you lead your visit, learning the specific information you want and when you want it, as in Prado Museum or European Parliament. Some related apps are popping out as well. Do you want smart destinations to be real? Start demanding them!
Photo Credit: Flowizm
Photo Credit: Stesciuba