Knowledge, sustainability, technology, solutions, and trust, the five pillars of the III CETT Smart Tourism Congress Barcelona
· On the Academic Day, researchers shared different pieces of research on the smart tourism phenomenon
· The relationship between sustainability and smart tourism was the focus of the intervention of Dr. Josep A. Ivars-Baidal, professor of Regional Geography and Tourism at the University of Alicante
The III CETT Smart Tourism Congress Barcelona, organized by the CETT-UB, higher education center of tourism, hospitality, and gastronomy affiliated to the University of Barcelona, hosted yesterday its last day, aimed at academia, which highlighted the importance of research. In the words of Dr. Eugeni Osácar, director of research at CETT, who opened the conference, ‘academic research thanks to its capacity to transfer knowledge contributes to the improvement of the public administrations and of companies as innovative and responsible organizations with their environment.’
In his intervention, Dr. Josep A. Ivars-Baidal, professor of Regional Geography and Tourism at the University of Alicante analyzed the current contribution of the smart vision to the sustainability of tourist destinations, as well as its connections. He questioned whether the technology could solve a question as complex as sustainability and although he noted that the answers might be diverse, he indicated that ‘technology by itself cannot address it, but it can help improve sustainability from the vision of smart destinations’. ‘Sustainable and smart destinations are not an idealized state, but a process that is beginning now,’ he said.
For her part, Dr. Ulrike Gretzel -Senior Fellow at the California Center for Public Relations, University of Southern California- referred to different technological solutions that can help address COVID-19. She stated that 'smart tourism is an opportunity to reflect on the governance of destinations and to rethink how we conceptualize, use, and implement technology'. In her talk, she explained that it is necessary to 'change the way we think about smart tourism and adopt a smart tourism mindset, a mentality that allows us to visualize the future collectively'. During the day, researchers were also able to share current pieces of research on the phenomenon of smart tourism.
Dr. Daniel Imbert-Bouchard, from the Organizing Committee of the III CETT Smart Tourism Congress Barcelona, and Dr. José Antonio Pérez-Aranda, Director of the University School CETT-UB and the Organizing Committee, were in charge of closing the III CETT Smart Tourism Congress Barcelona, in an edition marked by the global challenges of the COVID-19 in the tourism sector. Imbert-Bouchard reviewed the areas discussed during the Congress and highlighted knowledge, sustainability,
technology, solutions, and confidence as the five pillars that have marked the Congress this year. He also mentioned that ‘the contribution of academia and training in the generation of knowledge and talent, is key to the sustainable development of companies and destinations, through the implementation of smart measures and digital transformation, to find solutions for management and governance processes, which contribute to the return of confidence in the tourism sector'.
In the first two sessions of the Congress, held yesterday, cooperation was advocated as a fundamental element for the recovery of global tourism. In this line, Dr. Manuel Butler, Executive Director of the World Tourism Organization, stressed that 'we can only solve global problems with global answers.' Also, as part of the Entrepreneurs' Day, the Academic Excellence Awards and the XVI CETT Fundació Proyectos Emprendedores Awards in the tourism, hospitality, and gastronomy sectors were presented.
The III CETT Smart Tourism Congress Barcelona is an initiative linked to the UB Chair of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy CETT, organized by the CETT, the University of Barcelona, Barcelona City Council and CETT Fundació, with the collaboration of the Diputació de Barcelona and the World Tourism Organization.