The Future of eTourism- ENTER 2012

– An Interview with Professor Dimitrios Buhalis.

Just a few days before ENTER 2012 (24-27 January 2012) Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, President of the International Federation of IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT), speaks to us about the latest online technology applications to shape the travel and tourism industry, and what destinations should definitely know entering this exciting gamezone in 2012.

IFITT

The ENTER Annual Conference organized by the International Federation of IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT) specifically addresses the application of information and communication technologies to travel and tourism. The international event which, especially during the last couple of years, has managed to rise as the leading tourism and technology event worldwide, gathers representatives of the global industry, government and academia providing an active platform of knowledge exchange and interaction.

Dr. Buhalis could you tell us what we should expect from ENTER this year?

ENTER 2012, the annual IT and Tourism conference, will be held from 24th to 27th January 2012 in Helsingborg, Sweden.  Organised by IFITT, the leading international organisation for information technologies in travel and tourism, this conference is expected to be one of the biggest tourism events of the year.

More than 150 presenters are expected to attend and discuss state-of-the-art research with some great names including Viktor van der Wijk, Director e-Acquisition, Air France KLM, Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist of Google, Olaf Schlieper, Head of Media Management at the German National Trust Board and Diego J. Lofeudo from Expedia Travel. Further representatives from Facebook, TripAdvisor and VisitBritain will also be participating.

ENTER 2012 is a worldwide community conference, providing an opportunity for individuals to actively discuss the impact of new cutting edge information and communication technologies on the travel and tourism industry.  This conference will focus on the present and future services and applications of eTourism.  It is a global event attracting over 300 participants from more than 60 countries every year.

Click here  for the conference program

In view of the constant changes in sensitive technological and economical balances in the travel landscape, with new and powerful players entering the travel technology arena and increasing consumers’ expectations, which do you see as the three hotter technology trends to affect the Tourism & Travel Industry in 2012 and beyond?

I would expect that smart phones will provide interactivity, personalised services on location and therefore I would suggest that the destinations should invest on a combinations of

  • Mobile Technology and Services
  • Social Media, Online Communities and User Generated Content
  • Electronic Tourism Marketing and Customer Research on Location based services

Considering the game changing trends and the fact that destination managers try to keep up with the latest technological advancements while dealing with budget restrictions what should be the top technological priority for destinations to invest in within 2012?

I think that the key issues identified above should be the key areas of development for all tourism organisations including destinations. Destinations in addition have the issue of integrating all information that is currently available across different organisations, platforms, and systems and invest in the interoperability of this systems and information aggregation to flexible platforms that will enable travellers and industry to interact with current information.

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Professor Dimitrios Buhalis is a Strategic Management and Marketing expert with specialisation in Technology and Tourism. He is currently Established Chair in Tourism and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research (ICTHR) and Director of the John Kent Institute in Tourism at the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University and Professorial Observer at the Bournemouth University Senate. He is also the President of the International Federation of Information Technology for Travel and Tourism (IFITT). He previously worked at the Universities of Surrey, Westminster and the Aegean whilst he had visiting appointments at ESSEC in France, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China University of Aveiro, Portugal, and the Modul University in Vienna, Austria. He is regarded as an expert in the impacts of ICTs in the tourism industry, the management of tourism distribution channels as well as in strategic tourism marketing and management. He has recently included accessible tourism in his research portfolio. He has worked around the world and has written 14 books and more than 100 articles. Dimitrios has been involved with a number of European Commission FP5 and FP6 projects and regularly advises the World Tourism Organisation, the World Tourism and Travel Council and the European Commission on eTourism. For more information see http://www.buhalis.com

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Meet abouTourism @ ENTER2012. 

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