Technology platform promoted for tourism recovery and development
Update: Dec 29, 2021
After the severe consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to quickly recover the tourism industry is one of the most pressing issues posed in the world in general and in Vietnam in particular. Among the solutions that have been implemented to revive the "smokeless industry", promoting technology platforms to develop smart tourism is considered an effective solution.

In November 2017, Da Nang City launched an IT app called “Danang FantastiCity” with many utilities.

Tourism is one of the economic sectors that bring a large source of income to the budgets of many countries. However, over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in the revenue of the "smokeless industry". According to World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) data, the expected number of international arrivals in 2021 is still at the same rate as in 2020, that is, 70-75% lower than in 2019. Therefore, revenue from international tourism in 2021 could reach 700-800 billion USD and only nearly half of the 1.7 trillion USD in 2019. Although there have been some encouraging signs of growth, the recovery of world tourism is still rather fragile. According to the latest update on the World Tourism Barometer 2021, in the third quarter of 2021, the number of international tourists increased by 58% over the same period in 2020. However, it is still 64% lower than in 2019. In the current challenging context, the world tourism industry, including Vietnam, is trying to find a way to recover, ensuring safety and efficiency factors.

When scientific and technological achievements are being strongly applied in all areas of life, developing Smart-Tourism has become a trend in many countries around the world. Technology is also a leading factor, helping to accelerate adaptation to the “new normal”.

Through digital technology platforms, Smart-Tourism creates a large database system, helping to increase connectivity, thereby, providing a seamless experience (before, during and after the trip) for visitors. Around the world, smart tourism has been deployed by many countries in various forms and is becoming a key component in the economic growth of these countries.

In Vietnam, the term "smart tourism" was first mentioned in a legal document as Directive No. 16/2017/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister. Accordingly, many localities have built and offered solutions to apply technology, use many social platforms, as well as software and smart utilities to support tourism development, such as: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Thua Thien Hue, and Quang Ninh.

As a major tourist city of the country, since 2018, Da Nang has put into use a Chatbot app called “Danang FantastiCity” to help visitors easily look up all useful information when they visit. Chatbot is a tool that uses artificial intelligence to interact with people through Textual or Auditory features. This technology was used first in Vietnam and Southeast Asia (along with Singapore). In addition to Chatbot, Da Nang has also built software systems and optimal support utilities for visitors, such as: "inDaNang", "Da Nang Tourism", "Go! Da Nang", "Da Nang Bus"; developing communication activities on social networking sites Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Tiktok and have dedicated pages for each market such as Weibo (China) and Naver (the Republic of Korea). In addition, Da Nang also built an automatic audio commentary system at tourist attractions managed by the State and a QR Code application system in information and introduction of attractions and tourist services.

In order to promote smart tourism, Hanoi has also put into use two smart utility software to support tourists, including: Audio guide systems at the Temple of Literature-Quoc Tu Giam, software Guides to visit Thang Long Imperial Citadel and some digital utilities about maps, route finding and bus stops. In addition to the automatic narration application, the Van Mieu–Quoc Tu Giam Culture and Science Centre has also launched a series of experimental products from digital technology applications, the highlight is a 3D light show combined with music, which takes place in the evening, in order to form products to experience at night, increasing the attraction for visitors.

Along with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City has put into use a number of smart tourist information stations, smart tourism software such as: "Vibrant Ho Chi Minh city" as well as a number of other utility software including: “Sai Gon Bus”, “Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide”, and “Ho Chi Minh City Guide and Map".

Similarly, in Hue, the application of technology to smart tourism development also brings positive results. After only one month of promoting on social networking platforms, it has reached more than one million users. Tu Duc Tomb relic is one of 30 relics selected by Google for 3D digitization, helping to increase advertising effectiveness.

Along with the efforts of many localities, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also implements the application of technology platforms with the goal of improving the optimal experience for visitors to Vietnam. Specifically, the implemented solutions include: comprehensively upgrading the safe Vietnam Tourism application; COVID-19 safety declaration system; Vaccine passport of the Tourist Information Centre under the VNAT. Safe Vietnam Tourism application, after being upgraded, has fully integrated features such as: safe tourist digital map, medical declarations, vaccination certificate and updated information on the epidemic situation diseases in localities. These are all practical features for every tourist when traveling in the current new normal.

A number of online platforms deployed by Vietnam's tourism includes Google Arts & Culture (a platform through which the public can view high-resolution images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts of many countries around the world), YouTube with the communication programme "Vietnam: Going to love!", Facebook, Pinterest, and Tiktok platforms with the "Live fully in Vietnam" campaign, including Information about Vietnam's tourism is modelled in the form of a vivid and eye-catching infographic.

Another important highlight, showing the transformation ability to approach and adapt to smart tourism of Vietnam, is the appearance of the online travel trading platform (Tripi) allowing transactions of package tours, hotels, and air tickets, bringing positive experiences to users.

Developing smart tourism is not only a trend, but also contributes to creating a new face for the tourism industry. According to Le Tuan Anh, Former Director of the Tourist Information Centre under the VNAT, new technology will increase the attractiveness of tourism products, improving experience quality; and at the same time, tourism management will be more effective. In particular, the application of technology in smart tourism development also helps to effectively connect related parties, thereby promoting tourism development in a sustainable and harmonious manner.

Doing this is not easy, especially when in Vietnam, the level and background of science and technology are still limited. Therefore, it is necessary to be synchronous and in close coordination between relevant ministries and branches, responsible participation of localities and travel businesses. In particular, it is necessary to have correct and sufficient awareness of smart tourism in order to build a common model that is effective and applicable in many localities across the country. In addition, it is necessary to continue to improve institutions and policies for smart tourism development; create a technology foundation for smart tourism by investing in the development of technology infrastructure, investing in the production of smart software, applications and utilities for the tourism industry. In particular, it is necessary to develop technologically qualified tourism human resources to stay ahead of trends, and at the same time easily grasp how to operate, and manage technology platforms well.

Khanh Minh
Translated by NDO

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