To make the celebrations of World Tourism Day, Gujarat Tourism along with FICCI hosted a conference on One Billion Tourists One Billion Opportunities – Role of ICT in Tourism Promotion. The prime focus of all the discussions was on how internet, social media and mobile technology can be leveraged to boost tourism in the state. Speakers from the Gujarat Tourism and multiple tech companies joined the sessions to raise awareness about the importance of technology in tourism industry.
Here are some key discussions that took place at the event:
#1 Unexplored destinations need to be promoted
While the prominent tourist destination drive a large number of tourists on a regular basis, it is important to discover and develop relatively lesser-known destinations. A large number of young travellers are always looking for new places to explore and promoting the lesser-known destinations can help attract them to the state. Mr. S. J. Haider, Secretary (Tourism) highlighted the importance of streamlining such trends without diluting the local culture.
#2 Virtual Reality has got great potential
Mr. Rajiv Vaishnav, Vice President, NASSCOM shared his views on how the state can inspire more people to travel using virtual reality tools. It is a relatively new medium that offers an experience closer to real as compared to other media and can be used to promote heritage sites and adventure activities in the state. Virtual tours will inspire more people to experience the destination for real.
#3 Internet of things can be a great opportunity for travel brands
The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ covers a wide range of topics but innovations in this space can have huge impact on travel industry in future. Smart and better connected devices will offer a better experience for the travellers. Airports, hotels and tourist attractions can all leverage IoT applications to offer more personalised and relevant information to different travellers. Going forward, new technology startups will come up in this space and the industry can reap the benefits.
#4 Connectivity can be a major speedbump
With the increasing dependence of travellers on mobile devices, ensuring good connectivity is very important. Mr. Vaishnav brought up this topic on how the poor state of mobile networks and Wi-Fi infrastructure in India can be a bottleneck. We need to improve the mobile connectivity and offer better internet services so that the tourists can have seamless access to information, while on the go.
(Read: Harsh reality of Government’s Wi-Fi projects & what India can learn from HongKong)
#5 Big data & Analytics will help in getting people online
Big data is a term used very often in our industry because of the endless possibilities. Using analytics and data mining techniques, travel businesses can simplify the user experience. Reducing complexity helps increase conversions. For many people who aren’t very comfortable with the use of internet and technology, simplified experiences could serve as a driving factor.
#6. DMOs will play a pivotal role in the coming time
Our Founding Partner, Daksh Sharma emphasised that DMOs have to lead by thought, action and create engagement measures for awareness of the Indian traveller. Destinations in India should look to collaborate and cross-share their learnings on successful use-cases of social media. Focus should be on building long-term sustainable relationships with travel influencers instead of one-off familiarization trips.
With an inflow of over 32million tourists last year, Gujarat Tourism’s Khushboo Gujarat Ki campaign and their active social media efforts are certainly creating a strong impact among domestic & international tourists. To provide better tourism infrastructure, the government has also unveiled a new tourism policy for 2015-2020 awarding an industry status to this sector for the first time.