February 25, 2024

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Indonesia: Tech for Sustainable, Smart Tourism

“Smart City” is no longer an unfamiliar term; this concept enables the application of technology in urban areas. Many countries have already implemented Smart Cities in their respective regions. It varies from enhancing the public sector and economy to social aspects. Implementing an intelligent city can improve various aspects of urban life. In the public sector, implementing Smart City can lead to more efficient and responsive services for citizens, such as integrated public transportation and improved security monitoring.

Image credits: itb.ac.id

Smart City creates new opportunities for business growth and innovation in the economic sector. In the social aspect, Smart City can enhance the quality of life for its residents. Better access to healthcare and education services, a cleaner environment, and improved connectivity among residents are some of the benefits that can be obtained.

On this occasion, the School of Architecture, Planning, and Policy Development (SAPPK) at Technology Bandung Institute (ITB) has presided a discussion on the use of technology in the tourism sector. This discussion emphasises the importance of intelligent and sustainable tourism development.

Dr Eng Maya Safira, ST, MT, a lecturer at SAPPK ITB, who presented the discussion, explained that Smart tourism development refers to the strategic and sustainable integration of information and communication technology (ICT), data-based insights, and innovative solutions to enhance the tourism industry. This involves using digital tools, connectivity, and smart infrastructure to create more efficient, enjoyable, and responsible tourist travel experiences while promoting long-term economic, environmental, and social well-being in tourism destinations.

Smart tourism encompasses various aspects, including digital connectivity, data analytics, ICT integration, innovative infrastructure, tourist engagement, sustainability, community participation, security, cultural preservation, marketing, and promotion. “All these components need to be well-integrated to achieve success in developing smart tourism destinations,” said Dr Maya.

The tourism industry relies on information. Therefore, understanding technological changes and tourist behaviours is crucial. Information and Communication Technology enables individuals to easily contribute their opinions, ideas, and creativity, making the connection between travel and technology increasingly close.

She gave the example that Sentosa Island is one of the smart tourism successfully implemented. “Sentosa offers a connected experience with high-speed internet, smart transportation, and interactive digital tools that enhance the visitor experience,” she added.

Additionally, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies at amusement parks enhance the tourism experience. The island is also committed to sustainability by using solar power and other environmentally friendly practices, earning recognition for its innovative tourism initiatives.

Despite offering many benefits, its development also faces various challenges. Some key challenges include high costs in implementing innovative technology, digital inclusivity for all tourists, visitor data privacy protection, system maintenance and compatibility, and maintaining a balance between modernisation and cultural and environmental preservation. However, Dr Maya asserted that the right strategies are needed to address the challenges in intelligent tourism development. This includes stakeholder collaboration, adequate resource allocation, public-private sector partnerships, and developing guidelines and best practices.

Dr Maya believed smart tourism is a trend and a strategic imperative for destinations and businesses. It supports the competitiveness of destinations by meeting the demands of modern tourists seeking seamless, personalised, and sustainable experiences. “Therefore, stakeholders are encouraged to take action by adopting smart tourism strategies combining technology, sustainability, and inclusivity,” displayed Dr Maya.


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