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IFITTTalk on New Technologies & Tourism Innovation

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Tue, 11/27/2018 - 02:03

IFITT and the Centre for Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM) of the University of South Australia delivered one more IFITTTalk on “New Technologies & Tourism Innovation”

The Centre for Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM) of the University of South Australia (UniSA) teamed up again with the International Federation of IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT) and organised an excellent IFITTTalk workshop on “New Technologies & Tourism Innovation”. The IFITTTalk took place on the 22nd of November at UniSA and it was attended by more than 80 industry and academic participants. The program featured 7 highly recognised speakers, all experts in their own field. Presentations focused on identifying and discussing the latest advances and applications of new technologies impacting the tourism and travel industry, while numerous best practices and practical examples were also discussed. As always, participants expressed their highest satisfaction with the workshop in terms of the new ideas and cutting edge knowledge that they have gained and exchanged throughout the proceedings of the IFITTTalk , but also for the exceptional organisation, hospitality and great networking opportunities that they have also experienced. As Professor Marianna Sigala (Director of the CTLM, UniSA) reported: “… the CTLM is always happy to partner with IFITT in order to promote and facilitate the production and dissemination of knowledge and best practices about new technologies and tourism. The CTLM – IFITT partnership has resulted in a series of IFITTTalk workshops organised at UniSA during the last three years, which all have been warmly received, participated and appreciated by the SA tourism community. CTLM has a strong commitment to liaise, contribute and partner with the local industry and the organisation of such events is only a partial evidence of the former”.

The IFITTTalk featured three major sessions. The first session focused on “New Technologies & Tourism Innovation: The Future is Here”.  Dr Kristin Alford (Director of MOD, University of South Australia) started this session with her talk on “Adapting Digital Innovations to Inspire Young Adults at MOD”. MOD. is Australia's leading future-focused museum, provoking new ideas at the intersection of science, art and innovation. In her presentation, Dr Alford explained how the MOD makes use of numerous new technologies (e.g. 3D spaces, AR) to enable the museum visitors to actively interact with the museum artefacts. Technologies at MOD trigger the visitors’ imagination and empower them to engagement in interactive multi-sensorial edutainment museum experience that in turn enrich their understanding, learning and self-development processes. Dr Aaron Tham (School of Business, University of the Sunshine Coast) gave a presentation on “Building block(chains) and bit(coin)s: The early tourism landscape in Australia?”. Dr Aaron explained the technicalities but also the marketing implications and opportunities of blockchain in tourism. Bitcoin owners represent a new tourism demand to be exploited and targeted, as they tend to select tourism destinations and operators based on the latter’s capability to accept bitcoins for conducting payments. The session finished with a presentation on “Augmented Reality and the Implications for Tourism” delivered by Mark Kasperski (Lecturer, International College of Hotel Management). Mark explained the difference between augmented and virtual reality and provided numerous examples on how augmented reality can be used to enrich the experience of tourists in various tourism sectors including tourism destinations, tourism attractions, hotels and restaurants. 

The second session featured two presentations focusing on innovation in tourism marketing through social media advances. Rubina Carlson (Digital Marketing Executive, SeaLink Travel Group) kicked off the session by providing numerous examples on how SeaLink uses social media to design social media campaigns. In her talk ‘Social Media Success with SeaLink: engaging with customers and inspiring them to travel’, Ms Carlson emphasised the importance of developing and disseminating authentic content and the use of influencers in order to make social media campaigns more trustful, influential but also engaging for the customers. Katrina McLachlan (Online Course Facilitator, University of South Australia Online) further explained the power of story-telling in designing effective social media campaigns. In her talk “The new media paradigm: Telling authentic stories’ Ms McLachlan gave numerous examples explaining what is story-telling and how this can be developed online. 

The IFITTTalk concluded with a session on “smart tourism and big data: innovating tourism services & management”. In her talk titled “Big Data and destination marketing: the case of Tourism Tracer in Tasmania”, Dr Anne Hardy (Senior Lecturer, University of Tasmania) explained the development of a mobile technology-based application to track, monitor and understand tourists’ behavior at Tasmania. Data is the oil of the new economy, and so, Dr Hardy also explained and gave examples how the destination managers can analyse and use the huge amount of consumer profile and behavior data for informing their destination marketing and management practices. Professor Marianna Sigala (Director of CTLM, University of South Australia) presented several examples of smart tourism services in order to demystify the concept and the features of smart services. In her talk titled “Unravelling the smartness of smart tourism services: best practices and implications”, Prof Sigala also identified and discussed not only the economic and marketing implications of smart services but also the new social, ethical and moral implications created by the introduction of technology agents (e.g. chat boxes, anthropomorphic robots, virtual assistants like Siri) as major actors in the provision of tourism services. 

The event closed with a great thank you to all speakers and participants, and by promising the announcement of other future events by the CTLM.


Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.