Cities get smart

Former UNWTO senior officer and current advisor to the Secretary General of the World Tourism Cities Foundation, Esencan Terzibasoglu was set to participate in an important presentation at the ITB Berlin Convention, entitled, “Better City Life Through Smart Tourism”. We asked Ms Terzibasoglu to tell us a little more about what was to be covered at the session.

The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) has recently released the “Global Report on Smart Tourism in Cities” sharing the results of a comprehensive research on smart tourism in urban destinations. The concept of “smart tourism” is closely related to the concept of “smart city”. “Smart tourism” has gained significant momentum in destination governance policies and management strategies over more than a decade because the tourism industry has been facing a tremendous paradigm shift as regards the behaviour of the traveller as well as the structure of the supply chain.

What are the keys to becoming a “smart urban tourism destination”?
Context wise, one can say that “smart cities” are those which have developed smart (intelligent) physical, social, institutional and economic infrastructure while ensuring the centrality of citizens in a sustainable environment. We can also say that “smart urban destinations” are those which show the above-mentioned characteristics and likewise, which have also developed efficient strategies to enhance tourism competitiveness by deploying their natural and cultural resources in a sustainable manner and by creating innovative products for the visitor. Within this context, it is significant that smart urban destinations should take the advantage of the fast changing digital technology, smart devices and in the meantime create strategic information and knowledge by using smart tools and platforms  and share  all this with the stakeholders for better governance and management.

Photo: Esencan Terzibasoglu