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Smart destinations

Spain to work with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on promoting smart tourist destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean

Wednesday 31 March 2021

Spain has led the world in developing the Smart Tourist Destination model, having garnered recognition not only domestically but also internationally from such important organisations as the IDB, the World Tourism Organisation, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the European Commission.

The IDB is the main source of financing for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean and prioritises tourism as one of the main instruments for driving economic growth, social inclusion and environmental preservation in the region.

The IDB has chosen SEGITTUR because of its history and experience in this matter, not only in creating the Smart Tourist Destination model and methods but also in promoting a Network of Smart Tourist Destinations (Spanish acronym: RED DTI), which currently has more than 250 members. The project receives funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Digital Transformation through the Spanish General Cooperation Fund.

The Smart Tourist Destination model

The Smart Tourist Destination project was launched to provide destinations with a tool for tackling the challenges in the sector, to improve their competitiveness and to develop a sustainable tourism model in the long term.

Smart Tourist Destinations adopt a globally pioneering method that is focused on incorporating innovation and new technologies into operating processes while maintaining the goals of sustainability and accessibility to create an efficient, transparent and participatory tourism management system.

Alongside the development of a standardised framework, Smart Tourist Destinations align themselves with a process to create smart cities that has its own Technical Regulations in Spain - the UNE 178501 standards, which also govern the Smart Tourist Destination Management System. Furthermore, the UNE 178502 standards govern indicators and tools and the UNE 178503 standards govern the semantics applied to tourism.

The Smart Tourist Destination Network

Maximising the benefits brought to destinations by the Smart Tourist Destination Methodology is enhanced through the Smart Tourist Destination Network, an exchange and coordination space for transferring knowledge, building synergies between destinations and developing strategic partnerships between them and the provide sector, lending continuity and robustness to the initiative.

Backed by the IDB under the Spanish General Cooperation Fund, which will be extended to 2022, the project will promote the uptake of technology in Latin American and Caribbean destinations, as well as governance aimed at building a regional Smart Tourist Destination Network based on the need to foster public-private cooperation, strengthen destination management capabilities and create a collaborative framework in which to exchange best practices and generate knowledge on the potential in technologies applied to tourism.

Smart Tourist Destinations in Latin American and the Caribbean

Estimates by the WTTC suggest that tourism accounted for 8.1% of total GDP in Latin American and 13.8% of GDP in the Caribbean in 2019. Tourism was also responsible for 7.9% of total employment in Latin America and 13.5% in the Caribbean. However, COVID-19 has had a far-reaching impact on tourism worldwide.

Against this backdrop, consideration must be given to the role that could be played by digital and emerging technologies on reactivating the sector and guaranteeing its future profitability, not only be strengthening the concepts of health safety but also those of adaptation to climate change and socio-environmental sustainability in destinations.

Therein lies the relevance and appropriateness of this project, as it will apply technology diagnostic and knowledge spreading tools, produce technology pre-investment plans and designs for innovative projects that will accelerate the uptake of digital and emerging technologies by tourist destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Non official translation