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World Tourism Day Conference – Making the most of new technology

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Professor at the University of Alicante, Marco A. Celdrán, chaired the conference “New Scenarios for the Planning of Tourism”, which was held in the casino of Torrevieja, an initiative of the Department of Tourism in Torrevieja, in recognition of World Tourism Day.

The coordinator of the University Headquarters of the UA in Torrevieja, José Norberto Mazón, intervened at the beginning of the conference to present the professor to the public and thank the council for organising the event.

Professor Marco A. Celdrán, the first to defend a doctoral thesis in Torrevieja, has made a synthesis of his research work, explaining what has been the evolution of tourism according to the technologies of different stages. To summarise his thesis, he highlighted four sections: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and their influence on tourism; What the academic world says about this Smart Tourism scenario, that is, intelligent tourism; ICT with the greatest impact on destinations; and The focus of the intelligent tourist destination, its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, he gave some examples of strategies to benefit from this innovative type of tourism.

“Mass tourism began in 1950, at the same time as some economic and technological improvements,” said Celdrán, adding that currently, Spain is one of the leading countries in the development of smart tourist destinations.

The professor explained, tourism has gone through different stages, the first, with the use of servers that did not offer an effective interaction between tourists and destinations, the later stage, which has been characterised by the appearance of the Internet and the first navigators that improved that interactivity, since they allowed tourists to consult each other on the destinations offered.

Current tourism is closely related to new technologies. “We can know tourist products and opinions through different technological platforms in real time,” said Celdran, listing various channels, such as social networks, web pages, mobile applications, other sites of interest such as TripAdvisor or Booking.com. “These new sites offer numerous forms of data, like the accumulation of tourists in a certain place. For example, in the summer season of Torrevieja the agglutination of people occurs on the promenade or on the beaches,” he added.

New technologies allows personalised records of the experiences of tourists and travelers who become prosumer tourists, that is, tourists who consume experiences, but also produce them through their opinions. Subsequently, these reviews are taken advantage of by tourist destinations to offer better services, according to the professor.

Finally, Celdrán mentioned some limitations and solutions to improve the application of these technologies in a tourist destination, which above all, falls on the governance that should be responsible for intelligent strategies to take advantage of these new possibilities. In fact, some locations in the Valencian Community already use these, such as Torrevieja, Denia, Benidorm or Valencia.

After the conference there was an excursion to the Salinas on the tourist train and a guided tour of the town.

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