Passengers use self-service check-in kiosks at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC
At the forum, as part of the eighth Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities (TPO) Forum, held in HCMC, multiple experts agreed that many cities in Asia have embraced the new tourism development trend.
Perry Hobson at Taylor University in Malaysia said technologies such as travel websites, social media and smartphones have considerably changed the way tourism services are provided. Travelers can now look for tourism information via multiple channels, so it is a must for travel firms to make constant improvements to keep abreast of the new trend.
Besides, travel firms have to change the way they approach potential customers and create new tourism products. They no longer need to conduct customer surveys in a traditional manner given the availability of new technologies while new technologies can be applied to bring new experiences to tourists and avoid lagging behind rivals.
Particularly, AirAsia Airlines is making use of big data to launch products that best meet the needs of its passengers. Similarly, European hotel management firm Accor is relying on virtual reality technology to improve services.
Cities in Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have invested heavily in smart tourism solutions to better serve visitors and increase the competitiveness of their tourism sector.
Tourists to Japan’s Fukuoka City can use mobile apps to make payments and complete hotel check-in procedures in advance.
Meanwhile, visitors to Sanya City in China can enter amusement parks, hire vehicles and lodge complaints by using quick response (QR) codes. Cities in South Korea and Malaysia have made free wifi available for visitors and allowed them to pay and search for information on tourist attractions by using QR codes.
A representative of South Korea’s Boryeong City said smart tourism not only facilitates travelers’ payments but also helps tour operators and localities to understand tourists’ demands to offer better services.
Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Tourism, said the city is trying to catch up with the new trend. The department is developing a tourism database and building apps for visitors to book hotel rooms and plan itineraries in advance, she added.
In addition, virtual reality technology has been employed to help tourists search for destinations and restaurants.
On June 22, the eighth TPO Forum will continue with meetings among enterprises and a smart tourism exhibition.