Today we had the opportunity to attend the webinar dedicated to the European Capitals of Smart Tourism and their development as smart destinations, called: "Is smart tourism the future? Learning from the European Capitals of Smart Tourism”. On this occasion there was the participation and interventions of the representatives of the winning destinations of the last call of the contest - Malaga and Gothenburg.
The winners have shared their plans and visions regarding the intelligent development of their cities that favor both tourism activity and the common well-being of the destination and its stakeholders. All representatives agree that the opportunity to participate in calls and contests of this nature help destinations to show their intentions and aspirations in terms of smart, sustainable and responsible tourism, promote a more dynamic planning of actions at the destination level between various entities and actors involved. In general terms, although not everyone can be a winner, without any doubt, it is a great opportunity to express where a destination is at the current moment and where it wants to go.
Both winning cities of the previous edition show the acceleration in the development of various projects, making it clear that for the achievement of intelligence, it is very important to promote the collaboration between the different agents, exhaustive work with the actors that are around, carry out the management of risks and crises in a joint effort between all.
Another relevant aspect that will characterize either a tourist destination or a smart city is, without a doubt, the entrepreneurial potential it has, which can be demonstrated from a practical point of view: “We must continue experimenting and innovating in the offer, although success is not achieved immediately, because the important thing is to continue with the development of ideas until they can fit into the improved reality of the destination ".
In the current circumstances marked by the health crisis, when urgent and efficient measures are required to recover the tourist economy, it is also important to work on the quality of tourism rather than on the numbers and volumes of tourists; This crisis has been used by many agents and destinations as a launch pad to re-evaluate their tourism policies and plans, the priorities they have and the resources they have at their disposal. In this context, it is essential to have management plans that help tourists reach their destination, ensure relationships of trust and safety.
Last but not least, they insist that the recovery of the sector will take time, giving the possibility of introducing intelligent changes in the functional tourism system. In this sense, they highlight that digitization is undoubtedly an important component taking the path to intelligence, however, it is more about making intelligent decisions, establishing efficient collaborations, creating strategies and new ways of thinking that benefit a maximum number of the actors involved in the destination, identification of new characteristics for the destination.
The next edition of the contest, called European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022, is currently open until June 16 for European destinations that promote innovative, sustainable and accessible tourism and want to showcase their smart development plans.