Regarding the article in the link below, we shall say that the article is quite good, however, we would like to debate with the author on some of the things discussed there.
We absolutely agree with the fact of the increase in the number of independent trips. We would add that independent trips are becoming more comfortable and affordable, thanks to online dictionaries, online maps and automatic guides.
Ecotourism is certainly another very important trend. Here we can only add that tourists’ refusal from paper maps, dictionaries and guides could help to save about a million tons of paper every year.
Another significant trend is the local experience. However, there are challenges with its implementation, mainly due to hardness of communication with local residents. In some cases, local population is unfriendly towards tourists because of overtourism issues. Solving this problem would certainly lead to an improvement in the touristic loyalty of the destination. In our opinion, correctly applied technologies can reduce the negative effect of overtourism to some extent. For example, electronic guides could lead tourists from crowded places to lesser known places, evenly distributing the load on a destination.
Personalization is also a strong trend. However, current situation with personalized tourism is that it does not go beyond online advertising. This leads to the problem that potential clients get advertisements corresponding to their interests, but upon the arrival they don’t get an experience corresponding to the expectations. In our opinion, DMOs and museums definitely have a space to improve in this direction.
Business travel is also a very promising segment. However, the process is too straight-forward: an employee goes on a trip at the expense of the company. It is known that he travels and works at the same time, but a more detailed study has not been yet performed.
Nowadays, robots and chat bots become very popular, which could formulate another touristic trend. However, it seems to us that they are currently not so smart and make quite a few mistakes. No one would want to stay on the street without a hotel reservation just because of a couple of incorrectly recognized phrases by some robot.
In terms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), we agree that it works quite well in advertising. It is able to replace a driver, but whether it could replace a living speaking guide is very doubtful. It would be very vague statement to say that AI is capable of experience emotions. Then how could AI transfer emotions to other people without experiencing them?
As for VR and AR in tourism, it seems to be very doubtful area. The reason for this is that the idea of traveling is about getting an absolutely unique experience, and not about watching TV.
Although we slightly disagree with some statements in the article, we must say that many trends are indicated correctly. We recommend everyone interested in the development of smart tourism to have a look at the article, and we would like to thank Martijn Barten for his work on preparing the article.