With access to a huge amount of tourism websites and communities on travel experiences, travelers nowadays get to obtain, experience, and share a great diversity of tourism information (via mobile technologies and sharing economy). Travelers’ behaviors are definitely changing (fragmented travel planning and backpack travel style). With the emergence of flight and hotel booking sites (on the best deals), travel planning APPs, and smart tourist assistance, various kinds of new technologies are in place to enhance tourist services. Strong IT technologies and networks with local service providers have become the must-have for the tourism industry. Different players in the global tourism industry are also trying to connect and share information with each other, such as analysis of travelers’ behaviors in the aim to provide more comprehensive and more precise travel services.
Customized services have become a global trend: due to the changing nature of tourism industry, the focus is switched from group travelers to individual traveler, and data is the key to provide customized services. Leading companies, like mastercard, or weswap, musement, withlocals and other big players focusing on travel experiences are paying much attention on how to provide such services and how to enhance local travel experiences, and have incorporated that into their operational strategies in recent years. Without data, it is impossible to provide services that meet the needs of travelers. However, it takes machine-learning technologies to process a great amount of data, and the analytics then can be used to predict and satisfy what the consumers really want. To tackle the data, enterprises should learn how to work with professional scientific teams and develop innovative services.
More and more mobile technologies will be seen in the tourism industry, and the Tourism Bureau under Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) makes it its priority to bring forth innovative applications to take Taiwan’s tourism industry to the next level. By holding this competition, it is hoped that schools of tourism and hospitality could provide more courses to equip students with knowledge about smart tourism or digital innovation, so as to enhance the competitive edge of Taiwan’s tourism industry and quality of tourist services. The organizer also wishes to strengthen interaction between Taiwan’s students and participating teams, and other teams on innovative travel services from Asia and other parts of the world, raising Taiwan’s profile in the international community. Plenty of innovative ideas and talent exchanges are expected to be seen in the competition that will surely facilitate the development of smart tourism in Taiwan.