Tourism sector is important for the economies of many countries and cities that depend on the touristic activities to support the local economy. Nevertheless, the sector is going through deep changes and the established paradigms are shifting, as the conventional tourists are starting to demand customized and innovative experiences, rather the usual guided tours across monuments and museums or the long hours stretched at the beach.
Tourists value digital services
The touristic experiences never had been so diverse before, covering a spectrum that goes from the family looking for a nice hotel and spa with guided tours to the backpacker that travels alone and surfs somebody crouch. However, there is one factor that is becoming more common across all kinds of tourists: the use of digital services to get information, plan trips, reserve accommodations, contact other tourists, consult maps to visit places, rate restaurants or share experiences.
Many of the touristic digital services are related with providing information and enabling unique experiences for tourists. To achieve this goal and ensure the quality of the service, high value data is required to feed the information need of such services. Cities and others stakeholders of Tourism sector gather data to support their activities, which can be open to allow third parties, such as Citizens, Developers and SMEs, to create innovative services that can improve the overall experience of tourist in the cities and support this sector at the local level.
Open data enables new services
The value of the Open Data, in the Tourism sector, is deeply connected with two factors: availability and interoperability. Available data is valuable data, in particular when it can support services for people that are visiting unfamiliar places. Interoperability allows tourists to use the same services in different places without the need of searching for new service providers every time they go to a different place or city.
Citadel and CitySDK are two CIP projects that are dealing with these two factors, respectively. Citadel is developing tools to allow citizens and organizations to Open Data and create simple Apps through templates that are simple and user friendly. On the other hand, CitySDK already developed APIs that allow the interoperability of apps among the different cities involved in the project
Recently, developers and project managers from Citadel and CitySDK met in a workshop, held in parallel to the Data Days 2014 in Ghent, to analyze how the results of both projects could be combined to provide tools to allow Citizens, Developers and Cities to create new digital services that are oriented to Tourism sector and based on Open Data.
As a result, a small demonstration was achieved and it was possible to create a visualization of a data set with Points of Interest from Lisbon (see above). The access to the endpoint of Lisbon, through the CitySDK Tourism API, allow to access the data and present it in the templates from the App Generator of Citadel. This achievement inspired both teams to keep exploring each other’s tools and converge the results of both projects.
Be aware for future news on this topic!