The Tourism-Spain Ontological Model is the condition for making our machines able to converse with people | Tourism Monographic

Ricardo Alonso Maturana, CEO of Gnoss and John Mora Williams, CEO of Globalditauthors of the article; they are also working as Directors of the project Ontological Conceptual Model of the Tourism Domain commissioned by SEGITTUR.

In most organisations, industries and markets there is a growing disconnect between machine learning algorithms and corporate knowledge. This disconnect is an example of a more general problem in the Artificial Intelligence (IA). As pointed out by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, when machine learning algorithms do not incorporate relevant domain knowledge, whether in banking, culture, education, research, automated driving, defence, medical diagnosis, accurate description of a tourist destination or any other sector, they can generate false results that, depending on the criticality of the decisions involved, can be catastrophic. Recently, Craig Martell, the Pentagon's Chief of Artificial and Digital Intelligence, has stated in a interview with CNN who is "scared to death" of generative AI. He points out that, while large linguistic models are unreliable, "these things speak with authority, so we believe them. That scares me.

It is therefore essential to connect algorithms and data processing with rich domain knowledge ready to reason and make inferences. The kind of technical artefacts capable of making such connections are known as ontologies. An ontology projects onto machines the cognitive structure by which people understand the world in a given domain of knowledge, so that they can understand and process it as we do. Ontologies are thus models of knowledge representation independent of any particular representation of databases, files, systems, or any other means of data storage and management. Leading companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Wal-Mart or Nike are developing ontological programmes based on knowledge graphs, precisely because they want to have an artificially constructed intelligence that is explainable and whose results are traceable, i.e. an AI that is connected to what we commonly understand as "truth". Machines and people need to converse in a framework of "common sense" and knowledge graphs, which represent the entities of an ontologically represented knowledge domain, are the means to do so.

There is a growing interest in ontologies and knowledge graphs in all sectors.

Increasingly, forward-looking companies and sectors, those that understand the importance of knowledge, its traceability and therefore its reliability, are developing AI master plans that contain semantics at their core. This is the case of tourism in Spain with the Tourism Ontological Model-promoted from SEGITTURwhich lays the foundations for a national project of Tourism Intelligence. The word "infostructure" is a neologism that serves to designate a basic information infrastructure, which in the field of knowledge would function like the network of ports and roads in the field of logistics or the transport and distribution of goods or passengers. Following this analogy, the Ontological Model Tourism-Spain can be considered a National Knowledge Infostructure.

Having an ontology, an ontological model, is the condition for building intelligent machines and systems that satisfy the conditions that the latest Gartner report in 2022 calls Composite AI, which is the one that hybridizes the semantic technologies and the knowledge networksThis ensures the explainability and traceability of their results, with heuristic and generative technologies, which make it possible to "humanise" the relationship between people and machines. The Tourism-Spain Ontological Modelis, therefore, the condition for building Composite AI solutions in destinations that satisfy the conditions of what we can call the European Way of AI, strongly committed to the reliability of the results. Knowledge ontologies and knowledge graphs allow to endow Meaning, Reasoning and Learning systems (Meaning, Reasoning y Learning), the three conditions that a Strong, Composed and Reliable AI must satisfy.

Tourism is Conversations.

Tourism is about conversations between people, but also between machines and people.

A smart territory is one that is able to interpret what is happening and proactively converse with travellers before, during and after their visit.

Tourism is about personal conversations, because each traveller is different, wants different things and aspires to different experiences. The Tourism-Spain Ontological Model is the condition for systems to be able to talk to everyone, to whisper in everyone's ear what they need to know at a precise time and place, and to advise them on what is most appropriate, best to do or to take into account. In short, it is the condition for machines to be able in the future to talk with sense, opportunity and usefulness with every person who approaches or lives in any part of Spain. The Tourism-Spain Ontological Model will enable the future Intelligent Destination Platform of Spain (promoted by SEGITTUR) to enable technological capabilities to expand, make the tourism exploitation model of our country more sustainable and useful for tourists, to transform it digitally. This common "vocabulary" will favour interoperability between different systems in the destination, between destinations and, finally, between these and the central node of the smart destination platform. For the Smart DestinationsThis instrument is set to be one of the accelerators of their competitiveness with the greatest impact, as it makes it easier for their value proposition to be "understood" by machines, which will guarantee the delivery of personalised services to travellers, collaboration with other destinations for the resolution of different tourism use cases, the activation of enriched services through composite AI or the sharing of data with public and private operators.

The Ontological Model of Tourism-Spain is not only a Conceptual Reference Model, but a machine-operable ontology that contains all the classes, attributes, relations, extensions and use cases that can be deployed by the whole of the Spanish tourism offer, as well as the modes of interaction of the different types of travellers. The expression "operable ontology" refers to the fact that the ontological model has been written in a technical programming language interpretable by machines, OWL, Ontology Web Language, the standard language defined by W3C for programming ontologies, which ensures that each concept is framed in an unambiguous way and that it is readable by both humans and machines.

The Ontological Model of Tourism-Spain

It is worth considering some of the background to the Tourism Ontology Spain. The team of GNOSS developed in 2013 and part of 2014 the institutional web portal for tourism of the Government of La Riojawith the impetus of the then Minister of Education, Culture and Tourism and current President of La Rioja, Gonzalo Capellán. La Rioja Turismo" exploits a tourist Knowledge Graph in which all the digital contents referring to places of interest, accommodation, routes, activities, events, restaurants, wineries, etc., are represented using an ontology written in RDF/OWL. The construction of the Semantic Ontology Graph hybridised and extended several pre-existing domain ontologies and vocabularies with the aim of generating a digital space where the experience of retrieving information and, in general, conversing with the machine would be simpler, more useful and practical, and where the overall web experience would be friendlier and more satisfying. The ontologies that were then hybridised were Harmonise, OnTour, Geonames, Rout, FRBR and rNews. Currently, the Knowledge Graph of ?La Rioja Tourism? consists of more than 7,000 digital contents, 67,284 entities, 472,361 relations and 675,368 triples. The most significant exploitations of the Knowledge Network are linked to the existence of a meta-search engine, faceted search engines for each knowledge object, information systems contextual and display systems of the Graph by combining the map with semantic geopositioning.

La Rioja Turismo was launched in June 2014 and since then it has functioned as the tourism publication space for La Rioja. Currently, in Spain, it is still the only destination platform that works in this intelligent way and that would eventually make it possible to deploy a semantic services space for all the actors in the sector. The project was presented at the 1st International Workshop on Knowledge Graphs on Travel and Tourism. Full-day Workshop at the 18th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE 2018).

On the other hand, the CTN 178 or Technical Committee for Standardisation 178 of the Spanish Association for Standardisation or UNE is a public-private collaboration group with more than 700 experts that works on smart cities and which in Spain is the standardisation reference framework for everything related to processes, technologies and operations of this kind of cities. In CTN178 of UNE, in 2018, the analysis, drafting and consensus work on the UNE 178503 standard, Semantics applied to smart cities, was completed. Smart Destinationswhich can be considered an intellectual predecessor of the Tourism Ontology-Spain. The resulting document offered the sector a first vocabulary that allowed, and still allows, to describe its operations thanks to definitions, taxonomy and a proposal for data exchange based on the JSON format. The standard established equivalences between the proposed vocabulary and SCHEMA.ORG, which was considered to function as a guide for developers. At the time of COVID-19, the WG7 in charge of the standard published an update containing terms and guidelines for operating critical destination information in extraordinary circumstances, such as those.

The aim of the design of the Conceptual Reference Model of the tourism domain was to define a semantic model aligned with the UNE 178503 Standard, which can be used as a guide and basis for the construction of a Network of Ontologies that digitally reflects the context of tourism consumption. In order to build the Ontological Model of Tourism-Spain, which will operate at the service of the future Intelligent Destination Platform (IDP) promoted by SEGITTUR, a "Conceptual Semantic Reference Model of Tourism" has been previously developed.

The definition of the model considered as a starting point the subdomains of Supply, Tourist, and Destination, connecting all of these with the concepts of tourist interaction and addressing the travel cycle (before, during and after).

On that basis, the ontology comprises 305 classes, 433 properties and 103 lists of terms in the defined and already mentioned subdomains of offer, tourist, destination. Of the 305 classes, 13 of them (Accommodation, Tourist guide, Tourist or related facility, Tourist intermediary, Local business, Event organisation, Catering, Passenger transport, Tourist destination, Transport infrastructure, Resource of tourist interest, Public service and Person) have been defined as "main classes" from the business point of view. It is, as can be seen, a model designed with a high level of ambition from the point of view of the expressiveness of the representation of what the sector does or can do.

In short, the Tourism Ontology-Spain aims to become a living, highly expressive, evolving and extensible standard, enabling the different actors in the tourism market to talk to each other: people to machines, machines to people and machines to each other. In other words, it will enable people to talk to destinations and destinations to talk to people.

The Model will thus contribute to building new experiences for travellers in the destination, to accelerating the transformation of the processes that together contribute to building the tourism offer and to opening up the sector to new digital businesses. digital transformation of tourism in Spain.

Finally, the model is destined to be the central element of semantic interoperability of the set of destinations that make up the aggregate offer of destination Spain, which will enable its unification from a data point of view. Based on this unified reality from a data point of view, it will be possible in the future to generate all kinds of cross-cutting tourist stories or narratives which will help to facilitate the relocation and deseasonalisation of tourist consumption, a strategic objective which would help to moderate the saturation of the most used tourist areas, as well as adding value to others which are currently devoid of almost any economic activity.

Andrés Clavijo : Fourth Monograph

Andrés Clavijo Rangel, Director of the Bogota Tourism InstituteHe specialises in Social Transformation, Tourism, Economic Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; he has extensive experience in the public sector, especially working with communities in the regions, in different areas such as tourism, citizen participation, electoral issues and project management.

He has participated as a political analyst in different regional media and has worked in social networks as an influencer on various topics in marketing projects.

He currently directs the Bogota Tourism Institutewhich has been certified as a Smart Tourist Destination (DTI), as a result of the evaluation carried out by the Spanish State Society for the Management of Information and Tourism Technologies (SEGITTUR), from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism to the District Administration.

Bogota has been certified as an "Intelligent Tourist Destination (ITD)". What would you say have been the main technological trends that have transformed the capital's tourism sector?

Technological trends have been evolving, for example, mobile applications, social media and marketing play an important role in the promotion of tourist destinations, online bookings and platforms, as well as in the promotion of tourism. Big Data y data analysis.

According to Bogota's pre-investment plan, the result of the programme IDB Future TourismIn Bogotá, tourism companies use different independent programmes to meet their financial management needs (accounting, costs, finance, invoicing), customer data (CRM), reservations and human resources (payroll, holidays, schedules, etc.). The goal is to have integrated tools that make your operation more efficient. In addition, connectivity in Bogota is generally good, both in terms of 4G and fibre optic coverage. However, there is room for improvement.

In terms of network coverage, there is 4G coverage in practically all localities in Bogotá, although within this coverage we can distinguish areas with higher reception intensity and speed. Areas such as Usaquén and Chapinero have the best connection speeds (above 30 Mb/s). The rest of the localities show connectivity below 15Mb/s. Tourist areas such as the Santafé district are also identified as areas with improved connections.

However, according to the diagnosis, it is evident that there is still a need to implement a technological culture The current generations who are leading the sector need to adopt technology by means of technical assistance, training and education programmes for human resources, both in specific operational issues and in digital marketing, Big Data, data analyticsas well as in IoT. The cybersecurity is another key element of high priority.

On the part of the District Institute of TourismBogotá DC Travel's promotional website is intuitive and easy to use. It has incorporated a plug-in which allows you to adjust accessibility parameters for visually impaired people, such as image descriptions, font sizes and colour contrast.

The website is responsive: it is optimised for both desktop and mobile devices, although some areas for improvement have been identified in mobile browsing, such as the need to scroll not indicated in the main menu of "Bogotá explore" and inadequate display of horizontal images on vertical screens.

Can you highlight one example of an initiative on ?Smart Cities? in Bogotá, which has improved the experience of tourists?

The city in the lead of ICTs has generated initiatives to create new user experiences that seek to manage tourist flows, improve the services provided to tourists and allow them to communicate and interact in a more transparent way with local businesses, governments and attractions, among the most outstanding ones are:

  • ChaticoThe robot, which works thanks to algorithms and artificial intelligence through WhatsApp, offers services and information from the district to the citizens. This virtual agent works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and in its first interaction, tourism has been arranged.
  • Open Data BogotáBogotá's Open Data platform seeks to promote transparency, access to public information, competitiveness, economic development, and the generation of social impact through openness, the reuse of public data, and the use and appropriation of ICTs in accordance with Colombia's OnLine Government strategy. The Open Data initiative seeks that all public sector entities publish relevant and quality information in structured formats available to users so that they and the entities can use it in different ways, according to their interest.
  • IDECAThe Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) of Bogotá, known as IDECA, is defined as the set of data, standards, policies, technologies and institutional agreements, which in an integrated and sustained manner, facilitate the production, availability and access to geographic information of the Capital District, in order to support its social, economic and environmental development.
  • TransmilenioStrategic ally that has implemented technological tools that allow users to move efficiently in the city, as well as providing timely information on tourist attractions, wifi connectivity, among others, and how to get to them.
  • Similarly, since the District Institute of Tourism - IDT has promoted initiatives that facilitate the tourist experience, such as the Bogotá and tourist information points where we have digital aids that facilitate the delivery of tourist information.
  • We also have our tourist information system SITBOGThe Bogotá Tourism Board, a tool that permanently provides reliable, consistent and appropriate statistical information on the situation and evolution of the tourism industry in the city of Bogota.

As pioneers and founders of the Ibero-American Network of Smart Tourist Destinations, creators of Colombia's first tourism quality network system, what challenges has Bogota faced in implementing technological solutions for tourism?

One of the most important challenges that Bogotá has faced in the implementation of technological solutions is the use and appropriation of the tools that are generated.

Most of the time, citizens are very resistant to change and this means that they do not get enough out of the initiatives that are implemented.

In addition, the Pre-investment Plan of the IDB's Tourism Futuro programme has identified the following as the main challenges:

  • Generate a technological culture in the tourism sector. A process of technology adoption is needed through technical assistance, training and education programmes.
  • To have a larger budget for investment in technology.
  • Support companies to have digital strategies that support investment planning. Yes, there are businesses that have integrated the technology area into their organisational core, but they are large or chain companies; these are exceptional cases.
  • Supporting companies to turn their websites and applications into an important transaction and sales channel.

Of the five axes of the ITD Methodology, Bogotá made a strong commitment to open innovation, in the destination and in the processes; what impacts and consequences did the implementation of a strategy based on the consolidation of an "Intelligent Tourism Destination" entail?


  • Generate synergies between the different district and national entities.
  • Development of accessible and inclusive products and services
  • Improve the visitor experience at the destination, by providing technological tools, generating specialised products and adapting the offer.
  • To support the increase of quality in the provision of tourist services, by supporting the development of a District System of Tourist Quality (SIDCAT).
  • To make tourism visible and position it as an economic driving force for the territory and for social development.


  • Articulation of the city for the growth of the city
  • Actions to strengthen citizenship are generated.
  • Positioning Bogota as a tourist and investment destination, both nationally and internationally
  • Tools to support tourism stakeholders

And what other objectives related to digitisation and modernisation were set for the development of the city?

Bogota through the IDT and FENALCO joined forces to present themselves in the IDB's call for future tourism and was one of the ten destinations chosen for the FUTURE TOURISM Programme, an initiative of the IDB, which aims to support the development of the future of tourism in Bogota. digitisation The aim of the project is to promote technological innovation in tourism destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to solve challenges related to the challenges and opportunities in terms of the geographic environment in which companies operate, as well as the heterogeneous challenges they face through economies of scale. In short, it seeks to accelerate technological innovation in tourism destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to solve challenges related to the competitiveness y socio-environmental sustainability and resilience / health security and governance, stimulating the networked coordination of the regional tourism ecosystem.

As a result, the city has a pre-investment plan with five strategic lines of action:

  1. Connectivity
  2. Digital maturity
  3. Information systems
  4. Sustainability
  5. Interaction

High-priority actions in digitalisation:

  • Training in applied data analytics and IoT for Tourism Service Providers.
  • Training and access to marketing solutions and improved Internet positioning for Tourism Service Providers.
  • Training and access to cybersecurity and contingency solutions for Tourism Service Providers
  • Digital marketing and social media training for Tourism Service Providers
  • Personalised advice and support for the development of digital transformation strategies for Tourism Service Providers.

How would you say sensor networks and data collection are being harnessed to improve decision-making in city tourism management?

The District Institute of Tourism ? IDT compiles data that is taken as input for the guilds and other entities of the district in order to make decisions to contribute to the management of the city. These data are collected under the following guidelines or operating policies:

? The Guidelines for the Statistical Process in the National Statistical System V2, provides guidance to NSS entities that produce and disseminate statistics in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 160 of Law 1753 of 2015; to understand and implement the statistical process, regardless of the type or activity of the producer. These guidelines should be applied in conjunction with the legal provisions applicable to each entity.

? The Technical Standard on the Quality of the Statistical Process - NTCPE1000 of the National Administrative Department of Statistics - DANE, should be taken into account since its purpose is to comply with this legal mandate and to contribute to the entities and organisations that make up the National Statistical System (SEN) to produce official statistics with quality standards.

? The District Development Plan must be taken into account as it is the management tool that promotes social development in a given territory during a current government programme and provides guidelines for the fulfilment of the objectives set.

? Guidelines for the integration of the geographic component within the institutional processes of the district entities or agencies for the implementation of the Geospatial Information Management Policy for the Capital District.

? For the development of the operation policy, the following phases must be taken into account, which are located within activity No. 6 of this procedure:

  1. Phase I Design and testing.
  2. Phase II Execute and collect primary data (if applicable).
  3. Phase III Execute and collect secondary data (if applicable)
  4. Phase IV Analyse and produce outcome document(s)
  5. Phase V Validate and approve outcome document
  6. Phase VI Publish and disseminate.
  7. Phase VII Feedback on the results documents published by the Observatory on the entity's website.

In the District Institute of Tourism ? IDT has a field team that is responsible for data collection through surveys in El Salitre transport terminal and El Dorado Airport. Through the development of the questions it is possible to know reasons for travel, nights spent, average expenditure, among others. We also participate with a field team in Accommodation and Lodging Censuses, the gastronomic industry, and in the measurement of different events held in Bogota. Secondary information analysis is also carried out and these inputs are used to feed the SITBOG, a tool that permanently provides reliable, consistent and appropriate statistical information on the situation and evolution of the tourism industry in the city of Bogotá. This information can be primary or secondary and quantitative or qualitative, which facilitates the monitoring of tourism behaviour and generates data for the formulation, evaluation and monitoring of decision-making in both the public and private sectors.

In this tool you can find:

  • Traveller research in Bogotá
  • Studies
  • Reports
  • Newsletters
  • Event measurement

How is the public-private partnership evolving to drive digitalisation in the city's tourism?

In the CONPES 26 of the public policy on tourism, objective 5 is to strengthen technological innovation processes for the optimisation of tourism services in the Bogotá region, where the associated product is the increase in the number of bodies of tourism data available for interoperability for users of the Information System. This involves the implementation of the integrated platform in a digital linkage that enables cooperation between the private and public sectors, which also enables the capture of data and statistical reading of the sector in the territory. This facilitates the production of evidence for decision-making in the sector and, additionally, is the basis for offering unified information platforms for tourists and visitors.

The second outcome associated with the Objective 5In addition, there is the increase in digitally transformed tourism service providers.

This line of action seeks to contribute to closing gaps in access to and use of digital resources.

This undermines the competitiveness of the sector and excludes actors in the district tourism system from the possibilities of offering better products, services and experiences.

In addition, and in line with the fulfilment of the SDGs 5, 8 and 11In addition, the development of technical assistance processes for the digital transformation of tourism service providers. This includes processes of digital literacyThe aim is to improve the competencies of the providers to locate, research, analyse information and make it a functional process to be applied in their productive units.

Likewise, the CONPES 29 of the public policy Bogotá Territorio Inteligente, which aims to promote the use and exploitation of data, technology and innovation to solve problems and generate opportunities that improve people's quality of life.

The policy contains 7 specific objectives, among which are the closing of the citizens' digital divide through a district connectivity plan, the development of citizenship skills with the training of 47,000 beneficiaries in post-secondary education in IT, the use of data for decision-making, where one of the tools to achieve this will be Chatico, Bogotá's virtual agent, which will have a greater impact on consultation and citizen participation exercises.The use of data for decision-making, where one of the tools to achieve this will be Chatico, Bogotá's virtual agent, which will have a greater impact on consultation and citizen participation exercises, as well as the implementation of the data brain and the 360° Citizenship project to provide better district services to the population; and the consolidation of public innovation as the driving force behind the intelligent territory through the iBO laboratory that will lead the creation of the Public Innovation System and the creation of the innovation hub that will be integrated into the Science Campus, Technology and Innovation of Bogotá-Región.

The timeframe for the implementation of the policy will be 10 years, during which time the District will have to strengthen the articulation of its entities and collaborative work with other actors to achieve the goals that will consolidate the city as a smart territory.

For the purposes of this policy, public-private partnerships will be understood from an expanded approach, beyond the traditional Public-Private Partnership ? PPP. It includes the different types of alliances, both formal and informal, where public, private and social actors are integrated around the development of actions or projects of mutual benefit, so that the Public-Private Partnership will be understood as "a voluntary cooperation that involves defining common objectives through a shared responsibility where mutual benefits can be identified, risks and associated investments can be shared and managed through an equitable distribution of power" (Casado, 2007). (Casado, 2007). public-private partnerships have been put forward from different models such as the three (University, Industry and Government), four (University, Government, Business and Society) and five helix models (University, Government, Business, Society and Environment) and more recently and in a more developed conceptual and organisational way, the Fourth Sector model, which integrates public, private and social organisations, including in these three categories, elements such as universities and the environment.

Since the creation of the Iberoamerican Network of ITDs, almost two years ago, we have been working for the development of a more competitive, inclusive and sustainable tourism. What future projects do we intend to carry out in order to continue promoting the development of the capital?

The Ibero-American Network has a work plan that has three specific objectives and impacts all members of the Network:

  1. Generate constructive and results-focused partnerships to ensure that territories, their products and services respond to the challenges of smart tourism.
  2. Contribute to the open, sustainable, accessible, technological, innovative, articulated and competitive tourism development of the region.
  3. Articulate efforts towards the planning and management of the region's ITDs, which are materialised through technical and methodological guidelines, programmes and strategies with a forward-looking approach.

Bogota continues to work to boost the digital transformation of tourismpromoting the development of the capital through projects focused on constructive partnerships, sustainability, innovation, technological accessibility and prospective strategies for the management of Smart Tourism Destinations in the region.

Interview with Adolfo Borrero, CEO of Aalto Consultores | Monograph on tourism

Adolfo Borrero, Industrial Engineer and MBA from the Instituto San Telmo, chairs the commission of Smartcity of AMETIC and the Digital Agenda Commission of CEA. Founding partner of the company Cactus Soluciones Energéticas and the technology startup accelerator Bolt Accelerator. 

He currently holds the position of CEO at Aalto Consultores, a consulting firm specialising in the Smart Cities and Territories ecosystem, which focuses on advising local entities to turn them into "Smart Cities and Territories".smart? using strategic plans and specific techniques.   

They have been successful in collaborations with national institutions and in linking with the energy sector. In addition, they work on the digital transformation of cities nationally and internationally, including projects with Seville and Malaga, and participate in smart destination networks in Argentina. 

It also maintains a productive partnership with Zabala Consulting and collaborates closely with Informaria in the dissemination of technology and its application to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. 

Aalto has more than 30 years of experience in smart cities and territories. How would you say that the advance in digitalisation and the application of technologies has affected the tourism sector in recent years? 

In a very unequal way, whether we consider the destinations or the companies according to their size. Let's start with the latter: the large Spanish hotel chains have been able to carry out a digital transformation, adapting their processes to the new possibilities that ICTs have been offering the sector. However, tourism SMEs have been left behind in the process. As for local administrations, which are responsible for the management of Tourist Destinations, something similar is happening, but in a less intense way, thanks to the extraordinary programmes of the Ministry of Tourism, which have been able to capture the extraordinary Nextgen funds, reaching small municipalities.   

It is clear that digitalisation is changing the very management processes of tour operators. We only have to think about how tourism promotion is done nowadays, such as interactive guides on mobile devices or how we interact with a portal through chat bots with Artificial Intelligence in natural language.

Today, tourists are fully digitised and expect both companies and destinations to offer them all their leisure options through apps and interactive websites that adapt to their profile; many already do, but there are still countless digitisation actions in the private sector as well as in destinations managed by the public sector. 

Smart Tourism involves improving tourism management in terms of efficiency, mobility, the environment, digitalisation, etc. These are some of the areas in which Aalto plays a special role. How does your company contribute to the implementation of modernisation in tourism? 

Aalto Consultores focuses its activity on the development of smart tourism strategies for Tourist Destinations. We do this by acting in three main areas: 

  1. Development of the destination's own smart and sustainable strategy. By defining objectives for the digitisation of processes in the different areas of government, to private sector interlocutors. This in turn generates a set of actions to respond to these objectives. We order the actions in time and align them with financial funds for their possible execution. In other cases, we assist in the preparation of documentation for funding applications. And finally, although not very often, we assist in the preparation of technical specifications for potential tenders. 
  2. Supporting the creation of urban laboratories on specific use cases in which the destination wants to develop its activity. This can be complemented with the development of startup accelerators to generate a local ecosystem to attract talent.  
  3. Creating events and congresses that position the destination on the map with themes aligned with the strategy that we have previously defined. Aalto is in charge of defining the contents and proposes the speakers that define the congress part of the event. 

How would you describe the relationship between urban mobility management and the development of the tourism sector in smart cities? 

The mobility of a destination is fundamental for the comfort of the tourist and, much more importantly, for the resident who often suffers from the phenomenon of tourist saturation. That is why we focus especially on the Management of People Flows in destinations. To this end, we recommend to our clients solutions from companies that allow them to alleviate these problems by redirecting flows to other parts of the city. We have recently collaborated with Orange and MB3-Gestión in a consultancy for Segittur for this essential use case, as well as participated with the Seville City Council in the conception of their urban laboratory.

Given your long experience in the sector, how would you say energy challenges are being addressed in the context of Smart Cities and Smart Tourism and how does this contribute to Energy Efficiency? 

Aalto Consultants' close collaboration with energy service companies (ESCOs) and extensive experience in the energy sector makes us particularly strong in this vertical of smart cities. Tourism is a major energy consumer in the public establishments where it operates. Our proposal is clearly aligned with the ESCO model for several reasons: 

  1. FinancialThe ESCO model, which is based on public-private or private-private partnerships, allows investments in energy saving measures and renewable generation to be undertaken by the private company, which enables the customer to use its own financial sources for other needs, thus multiplying its capacity for action. 
  2. The ESCO model will be equated to an "outsourcing" of the energy management of the destination, which, in small towns, without sufficient and specialised human resources, allows significant efficiencies in addition to guaranteeing the stability and comfort of the service. 
  3. The model allows for the maintenance of energy generation and consumption assets throughout the ESCO's operating period, thus guaranteeing the service to the public. 
Smart tourism
+3.4 million tourists in 2022, in Seville. Source: Diario de Sevilla.

Aalto is committed to sustainability, energy conservation and the environment. What initiatives are being promoted to ensure technological and sustainable development in tourism? 

We do this along the lines of energy as discussed in the previous section, which has a direct influence on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, flow management allows us to reduce our footprint. Our participation in multiple projects of "Tourism Sustainability Plans in Destinations" (PSTD) has enabled us to define sustainable actions with the destinations.  

And in relation to this, how would you say your company is ensuring that it is meeting the goals of the UN Agenda 2030 and that the digitalisation and innovation of the tourism sector is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals?

Our consultancy is fully aligned with the compliance of the United Nations Agenda 2030, focusing on the SDGs as a priority in the actions through indicators that allow the destination to see how they are progressing in their sustainability policies. We focus especially on SDG 7 for 'Affordable and Clean Energy' and SDG 11 for developing 'Sustainable Cities and Communities'. Clearly, all of this influences SDG 13 for Climate Action. And recently, we have moved into the Blue Economy and Blue Tourism, so we are focusing on SDG 14 on 'Underwater Life', which we will be discussing at the next conference ?Sun&Blue? in Cabo de Gata in Almeria. 

What is the role of city networks, including Smart Tourism Destination (ITD) networks in this digitisation process? 

City networks are an essential pillar of the Spanish Smart Cities ecosystem, and in particular for Tourism, the Destination networks. The conversation between the digital industry, the central administration, UNE and the Academy that is uniquely brought together in Spain, facilitates that government programmes, both central and autonomous, are fully aligned and hence the success of their calls for proposals. Internally, the networks of cities make it possible to share best practices in each discipline that shape the intelligence of the destinations and determine the best solutions in the market. 

Would you highlight Artificial Intelligence and IoT among the enabling technologies that are changing the landscape of tourism the most?

And in an international framework, what are the technological trends for the development of smart cities and tourist territories in the coming years? 

I would highlight Artificial Intelligence and IoT among the enabling technologies that are most changing the landscape of tourism.. In addition, there is the concept of ?Digital Twin? which brings together both technologies to enable the planning of cities and therefore their tourism. Many companies are deploying this type of technology in the cloud (Cloud computing) with a mass of data from sensor and other systems, which without the help of AI would be unwieldy.  

Although it is not exactly a technology, the standardisation of tourism data following semantic and ontological norms will make it possible to take a very important leap for the interoperability of tourism "Data Spaces". Here we must highlight the "Intelligent Destination Platform" (IDP), promoted by SEGITTUR, as the next quantum leap in the tourism sector. Projects such as Gaia-X will be boosted by this initiative in its tourism vertical.

And finally, what future projects do you plan to implement in Aalto, in order to further promote the development of tourist destinations and the smart cities?? 

We continue with new territorial projects in different areas of Spain, as well as in leading cities, supporting them in their digital growth. We currently have projects in many Spanish destinations at the moment, but I would highlight those in which we already have ongoing initiatives such as Seville, Almeria and Extremadura.  

We will soon be supporting our customer base who will be able to benefit from the Smart Destination Platform initiative. 

We will continue to support the business development of Smart Cities companies that rely on our consultancy to achieve greater penetration in this segment. 

We have already implemented projects in all of them and we continue to support congresses such as the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS), the Sun&Blue on Blue Economy and Tourism and Iberttur, which we hope to promote for its third edition in 2024. Obviously, we will continue to collaborate with the new editions of Digital Tourist (Benidorm) and the two key FYCMA congresses in Malaga: Greencities and Transfiere.

We have three more in the pipeline that will soon see the light of day. The most mature one is "Bluegeen" in Torremolinos focused on energy efficiency for the hotel sector which will be held in the first third of 2024.

In short, a non-stop agenda in the smart and sustainable cities and territories industry, complemented by the recent entry into the Blue Economy sector.

Interview with Daniel Vega Díaz, secretary of RECI | Monograph on tourism

Daniel Vega Díaz, Telecommunications Engineer, Master in City and Urban Planning, and Postgraduate in Smart Cities.

He has also been a developer of ITU and UNE (CTN178) standards on Smart Cities and Secretary of the Smart Rural Territories Working Group in the SEAD on behalf of the College of Telecommunications Engineers (COIT).

He currently holds the position of Head of the Digital Public Services Area, Smart Cities and Innovation, and secretary of the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI), whose objective is to exchange experiences and work together to develop a sustainable management model and improve the quality of life of citizens, focusing on aspects such as energy saving, sustainable mobility, e-Government, attention to people and security.

The Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI) was created with the commitment to create an open network to promote the economic, social and business progress of cities. What has "digitalisation" meant for Spanish cities as a whole in terms of tourism? Does it affect them all equally, or is it a question of size?

We could say that digitalisation represents a paradigm shift for the tourism sector, as in so many others. It offers the opportunity to improve destination management processes, improve the visitor experience and promotion, although we can say that we have already been in this process for several years. For example, having a good social media presence strategy is no longer an option, it is taken for granted. Nowadays you have to be up to date with digital marketing and have attractive, up-to-date and interactive websites or mobile apps. Once at the destination, the experience can be enhanced for example with Augmented Reality (AR), installing interactive tourist information systems or having online communication devices to answer visitors' questions in real time. Therefore, we can affirm from RECI that the digitalisation of the tourism sector is key to continue attracting tourists who are increasingly hyper-connected and with stays of greater added value.

In terms of size, digitalisation affects all municipalities, but size will affect their ability to adopt and take advantage of existing technologies. However, they can all benefit from it to promote their tourism, manage it more efficiently and improve the visitor experience. It is true that local councils play a key role in providing services to small and medium-sized cities. That is why we created in RECI a group of friendly municipalities to favour Digital Transformation regardless of population size.

What does this sector need in terms of digital development, energy efficiency and digitisation in municipalities and provinces?

The tourism sector needs continuous investment to remain competitive, bearing in mind that we are increasingly better connected and the competition is growing and more prepared. It must be said that the tourism sector in Spain is growing, and that things are being done well; every year we are recovering the number of tourists that Spain had before the pandemic. The latest studies of the sector cite that we have now recovered pre-pandemic levels of foreign tourists and international tourist spending has broken records. However, we have some challenges ahead of us, such as the conservation of historical heritage, public-private collaboration, energy efficiency and being more efficient with technology: making better use of the data we have and implementing a good digitalisation strategy, as I mentioned before.

On the other hand, the main challenge facing the sector in Spain is that of sustainability. More than quantity, we have to seek quality tourism that is sustainable in the long term, because Spain has all the conditions to be a world power in this sector. Within the Mission Cities that aims to achieve climate neutrality in 100 European cities by 2030 by and for the citizens, 7 Spanish cities were chosen. These will be a perfect example to follow and from RECI we will try to make it happen, and we will focus on the tourism sector within this ambitious European plan.

For example, cities such as Barcelona or Madrid are implementing sustainable public transport systems (electric buses, shared bicycles, electric scooters, etc.). Rural tourism and ecotourism activities are also being promoted, which favours responsible tourism and respects the environment and the local community.

What are RECI's main objectives in relation to the digitalisation of the tourism sector?

The main objectives are to articulate and promote projects and initiatives that promote digitalisation in the tourism sector among the different member municipalities and town councils. There is an alliance with the Smart Destinations Network (DTI Network), which is spearheading digitalisation in destinations, with the aim of extending all initiatives within the sector throughout Spain.

It is important to mention the objective of achieving adequate standardisation. RECI is part of the standardisation process carried out by both networks from the Smart Cities Technical Standardisation Committee 178, specifically in Subcommittee 5 on Smart Destinations.

More than 9.5 million tourists in 2022, in Barcelona. Source: La Vanguardia.

And what projects or tools are being implemented and used to achieve these objectives, and which ones would you highlight?

I would highlight the presentation of the future call for grants for the deployment of technological platforms and digital solutions in the destinations of the DTI Network. The RECI municipalities are applying jointly to this call, in order to obtain greater synergies and advantages for all.

Specifically, the Intelligent Destination Platform, of which RECI is part of its promoting body, is the provision of shared services that incorporate a collection of digital solutions to manage the main problems, challenges and opportunities for improvement, both digital and physical, throughout the tourist's cycle of stay. Given the complexity and diversity of the national tourism ecosystem and market, it is necessary to adapt the IDP to the specific needs of the different tourism market segments and niches. This is a great opportunity for all Spanish destinations.

And we expect that the creation of the national tourism data space that would accompany the platform would be a necessary step within the sector. The future tourism data space would be at the heart of the transition towards greater sustainability and deep digitisation in the sector.

RECI has an organisation divided into 3 working groups, what can you tell us about them with regard to the modernisation of the tourism sector?

Indeed, we have 3 working groups that address a wide variety of challenges, all of them related to the implementation of technology to achieve new smart solutions. In addition, we have cross-cutting working groups that affect issues such as the one you mentioned on the modernisation of the tourism sector. For example, as we have mentioned before, we act as a network in the presentation to calls for proposals of the PRTR programme, which positively value synergies between local entities. RECI is made up of 144 entities which, acting as a network, are much stronger than individually. Within Group 1: Government, Social Innovation and Smart Economy is where we work in the Smart Tourism sector, with Palma and Benidorm among the coordinating cities for this purpose.

The Smart Tourism working subgroup is the best forum for the exchange of experiences and knowledge between RECI member cities. They are also an incentive for the technical staff of the various local entities interested in this area, because they find references and technical solutions to specific problems that they must manage in their day-to-day work at the destinations. In this way, the working groups act as a driving force for the network in terms of generating and disseminating knowledge in relation to the process of digitisation of tourism.

What are RECI's strategies for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

RECI's activity has a direct impact on several SDGs: health and well-being (3), affordable and clean energy (7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (9), sustainable cities and communities (11), responsible production and consumption (12), climate action (13) and partnership to achieve the goals (17). Through the working groups we seek to implement solutions that make our cities more sustainable, which improves the quality of life of citizens. In addition, our networking creates alliances that improving the governance of local authoritiesmaking them more transparent.

One of our objectives is to promote the automatic and efficient management of urban infrastructures and services, as well as the improvement of the quality of services, thereby attracting economic activity and generating progress. We follow the progress of the Mission of Cities to help all Local Bodies become sustainable and smart. Our goal is to make life easier for citizens, achieving a more cohesive and caring society, generating and attracting human talent and creating a new economic fabric with high added value from a sustainability perspective.

What is the role of city networks in this digitisation process, including DTI networks?

City networks play an important role in the adoption of technology and the promotion of sustainability. In these cases, they facilitate the exchange of ideas through repositories of good practices, they jointly present projects, which improves the quality of the projects themselves and makes it easier to obtain European grants, and they also have a direct impact on the formulation of policies at regional and national level with respect to tourism, as they represent the majority of the Spanish population. From RECI we believe that we are at the moment of creating a Network of Networks and therefore our cooperation with the DTI Network is very important as we are pursuing the same objective within the Tourism sector.

And finally, what projects and future plans does the Spanish Network of Smart Cities have to continue promoting digitalisation in the tourism sector? ????

As mentioned above, within our Working Group 1, we will continue to develop new lines of activity leading to the realisation of Smart Tourism projects and seminars.

I would like to recall and emphasise that RECI is supporting the PID platform within its Promoting Body, it is a country project that requires our collaboration. From the beginning, we have supported studies such as the status of the city platforms, or the edition of the SC5 regulation of the CTN178.

The main objective of this future platform is to accelerate the digital transition of tourist destinations while activating a connected ecosystem at national level. The Country Platform will serve as a support to promote the greatest possible interoperability between different systems and, consequently, sufficient knowledge for Spanish tourism to enter a new competitive phase based on data management.

RECI will try to help its partners to be part of the Platform, as well as to be able to take advantage of all the developments made by our partners. One of our challenges as a network is to try to speed up the digitisation process, being the channel through which we can learn from the mistakes made, and we can implement previously developed, tested and in production developments in all the destinations that wish to do so.

Interview with Enrique Martínez Marín, president of SEGITTUR | Monograph on tourism

Enrique Martínez Marín, SESIAD Advisor at the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, worked as coordinator of the National Plan for Smart Territories, whose purpose is based on improving productivity and competitiveness, modernising the Spanish economy and society, through the use of information technologies by citizens, companies and administrations.

He also holds the position of Chairman of UNE's Technical Committee for Standardisation 178.

He holds the office of President in SEGITTUR Sociedad Mercantil Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas) for the last 5 years.

SEGITTUR is an operator responsible for promoting innovation (R&D&I) in the Spanish tourism sector, capable of contributing to the development, modernisation and maintenance of a leading tourism industry through technological innovation.

How has technology applied to tourism advanced over the last four years? Before, there was a lot of talk about wifi, booking centres, experience sentiment and monitoring on social networks, and now about data, platforms, sensors and the National Intelligent Destination Platform. How does Segittur contribute to the modernisation of Spanish tourism?

In recent years, a transformation of the tourism sector has been taking place, in which technology has played a decisive role in responding to the needs that have been detected. An example of this was the situation created in the tourism sector during the pandemic, where situations arose that were resolved with technological solutions such as QR codes, capacity controls, etc. But not only that, in recent years, we have gone from talking about specific solutions such as those mentioned above to global solutions, as is the case of the Intelligent Destination Platform or the Tourism Intelligence System.

In this process, and thanks to the European Next Generation funds and the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), the Secretary of State for Tourism, through the SEGITTURis developing initiatives that are key in the process of transformation and modernisation of the tourism sector such as the Smart Destination Platform and the Tourism Intelligence System, an initiative recently awarded by CNIS.

What will the Intelligent Destination Platform bring to Spanish destinations and how will it transform the experience of tourists in Spain, and the capabilities of tourism companies?

The IDP will address many of the common challenges faced by destinations. The aim is to develop the country's smart tourism ecosystem. In addition, we have a Tourism Intelligence System which will make it possible to offer dashboards to all destinations connected to the platform, key information for having a better understanding of tourists and their needs. The IDP will allow small destinations that do not have technological capabilities to have services on a par with large destinations, which is a great opportunity. It is a unique project in the world and will provide the country with a technological infrastructure that will allow digitalisation to spread throughout the sector. Finally, I would like to stress that this Platform is the result of a co-creation process involving the main players in the sector.

What is the role and relevance of the Smart Destinations Network, what are the main initiatives being promoted through the network to ensure technological and sustainable development in tourism?

The Smart Destinations Network is a tool at the service of the implementation of the Smart Tourist Destinations model and an initiative of the Secretary of State for Tourism to promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge that will contribute to the smart development of tourist destinations

Within the DTI Network, intense work is carried out, including working groups linked to issues of interest to the members, elaboration of good practice guides, publications of interest and training webinars, among others.

For example, within the Network we have a working group on rural tourism, which deals with the tourism sustainabilitywith initiatives such as the creation of tourism experiences linked to the primary sector.

In relation to technology, we have a catalogue of technological solutions, which help destinations in their process of digital transformation.

In addition, Segittur has designed a Model of Innovation in the Tourist Destination. What is this Model about and how does it promote the development of the sector?

The Secretariat of State for Tourism, through SEGITTUR, has developed the Smart Destinations model which aims to contribute to ?improving the competitiveness ?of tourist destinations and ?the quality of life of their residents ?by focusing on five areas of action: governance, innovation, technology, sustainability and accessibility.

At present, more than one hundred Spanish destinations have been assessed by SEGITTUR with this methodology, which has also aroused interest in Latin America, where we have also worked in Colombia, Paraguay, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

And with regard to the collection and analysis of data, which are key to improving decision-making; what can you tell us about SEGITTUR's "Tourism Intelligence System"?

The Tourism Intelligence System SITwhich has received the CNIS award, is technologically based on a Big Data platform.?in mode?, which studies, incorporates and analyses different sources of information and makes them available to the tourism sector.

The system collects, organises and analyses different sources of information, producing dashboards and dynamic reports adapted to the user's needs, as well as making it possible to download the information. The TIS facilitates access to and dissemination of knowledge, contributing to improving planning processes. strategic planning of the whole sector, including specific tourism destinations. By improving tourism measurement and monitoring capabilities, it facilitates better informed strategic decision-making by tourism stakeholders and operators.

Do you consider public-private collaboration a fundamental factor in the development of Smart Cities for smart tourism?

Public-private collaboration is key. For the creation of the Smart Destination Platform, a Promoting Body has been set up, in which the public and private sectors participate, as it is essential to be connected in order to find solutions to the challenges presented by tourism in general, and smart tourism in particular.


Nowadays, the tourism model is often questioned from a sustainability point of view. How would you say you are ensuring that the digitalisation and innovation of the tourism sector is aligned with the UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs)?

The smart destinations model was based on different national and international recommendations and evaluation systems, including the UN's Agenda 2030.

The SDGs may seem at first glance to be very broad and ambitious goals, but a closer look at each of the goals associated with them facilitates the identification of actions that can be carried out in each area of tourism management to achieve them.

This is precisely the work we have carried out at SEGITTUR, to identify the relationship between each requirement of the DTI methodology and the ODSThere are many examples of the relationship between them. Thus, meeting the requirements of an SDG contributes directly or indirectly to achieving many of the targets of the 17 SDGs. We can highlight some specific examples such as Goal 4 "Quality education" and its target 4.7 "Acquire the necessary knowledge to promote sustainable development", which is directly a requirement of the ITD methodology, "promote training programmes on sustainable tourism development in the destination, its management body and the private sector".

Finally, do you think that the good future development of destinations is linked to destination intelligence and smart cities?

Without a doubt, the smart destination model is based on that of Smart Cities. Smart cities and destinations share a city and territory design in which technology forms an intrinsic part of the model: in data collection, in information management and in the implementation of measures that seek a more efficient use of resources and a better quality of life for the people who live and travel in these spaces. The transformation of the territory into a smart destination promises, firstly, the generation of more accurate, continuous and updated information on fundamental aspects in the management of cities and destinations.

The value of Big Data in Smart Tourism Destinations | Tourism Monograph

Belén Hidalgo Ferrer, innovation project manager, in charge of developing technological platforms and tourism intelligence systems and team coordinator. 

Speaker and trainer in quality, innovation, digitalisation, ICTs and food safety, as well as an agricultural engineer by profession and auditor of the third part of food safety protocols. 

He is currently a member of the team at the Instituto de Turismo de la Región de Murcia, the economic development agency of the region's autonomous community, responsible for boosting the business fabric by promoting competitiveness, innovation and productivity, with a focus on SMEs. Its functions include technological development, internationalisation, consultancy, access to European funds and financing for entrepreneurs.  

It aspires to be a point of reference for companies, to promote a new production model based on competitiveness and innovation, and to be a close and committed administration. 

Nexo, a technological ecosystem for the digital transformation of the tourism sector in the Murcia Region

Technology has played a fundamental role in the development and improvement of the tourism sector, especially as a consequence of the pandemic, which has generated profound changes in the consumption habits of travellers and has made it necessary to redefine the tourism governance model. 

The Region of Murcia has been very conscious of the need to promote the process of digital transformation of the tourism sector, by investing since 2015 in the development of technological projects that allow small and medium-sized enterprises to break the digital divide; multiplying the presence of the regional tourism offer in online channels. and provide local administrations with tools for the sustainable governance of their destinations. 

From the Institute of Tourism of the Region of Murcia (ITREM), we would highlight three main lines of promotion for the application of technology.

Technological projects developed to attract demand and improve the travel experience.

The HERMES platform is used to facilitate the marketing online of the regional tourist offer in terms of accommodation and complementary services. This platform consists of a Channel Manager for accommodation with integration in 15 international tour operators, a booking engine that allows companies and destinations to have their own marketplace.The website also includes a complementary offer manager, which allows the sale of all types of activities (activities, guided tours, events, and tickets) and a central ticket sales office for events and shows.  

Improving the tourist experience. During the trip, making available Apps with updated information and geopositioning of the main resources, activities and events, with online booking capability. As well as transforming the municipal offices into showcases of the destination's offer with their transformation into 21st Century Tourism Offices of the Region, through the RITMO platform, a network that has been consolidated as a national reference and will undoubtedly lead to a leap in the competitiveness of the destination and an improvement in the visitor's experience.

Commitment to data-driven strategic decision-making

Thanks to the use of massive data sources known as Big Data, it is now possible to access tourism information. in real time. This provides companies in the sector with a complete picture of what is happening online. with the destination: from price variation and availability of accommodation, to the reputation of the destination and how it compares to other competing markets. In addition, technology allows companies to adjust their tourism offer to the demands of new touristsbased on data from key upcoming periods. Aware of the importance of data, we are collaborating with technology providers to develop a tourism intelligence system that provides this valuable information in real time. 

This is how MOTRIZ was born. Motive is a tool of Business Intelligencewhich collects, measures and analyses tourism data in a simple way, in order to make strategic decisions. It offers the possibility of having in a single application, all the information that a priori, could be necessary for a general knowledge of tourism management in the Region of Murcia and a fundamental tool for Smart Tourist Destinations.

Data obtained through webscraping techniques and integration of apis from the main online tour operators and travel agencies, the INE, Dataestur, Social Security, and social media monitoring platforms, as well as information derived from GDS and multiple other sources. 

MOTRIZ, a tool for the general knowledge of tourism management in the Region of Murcia

Smart Destinations

This information, processed through Motriz and analysed by Business Intelligence tools, has been incorporating new indicators and data that are providing real-time information, not only at the moment, but also on the evolution of the indicators in the coming months and the generation of predictive models.

Real-time information

Smart Destinations

A tourism intelligence system that is shared with all the agents of the sector through the DTI Smart Office Region of Murcia, a web portal open to the public, results from the analysis and cross-referencing of the information gathered by ITREM through its platforms and the Big Data sources of the Region of Murcia. digital footprint of the regional tourism sector and tourists.

Smart Tourism Destination as a model of sustainable tourism governance

The objective of turning regional destinations into Smart Destinationhas marked the strategic planning of the digital transformation in the tourism sector in the Region of Murcia. It is worth noting that it was the first autonomous community to have a Regional Strategic Plan for the Smart Tourism Destination in 2015, in collaboration with the Sociedad Mercantil Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas (Segittur) and the Escuela de organización Industrial (EOI). 

And through the collaboration protocol signed in 2020, the Institute of Tourism of the Region of Murcia (ITREM) becomes the coordinator of the implementation of this model at regional level, constituting the Smart Tourism Destinations Board, a consultative body designed to promote the implementation of collaborative projects on sustainability, governance, tourism intelligence, accessibility and technology among the regional DTI destinations. 

At present, 21 destinations are members of the DTI National Network and 9 destinations have started the diagnosis: Murcia, Caravaca, Los Alcázares, Águilas, San Javier, Mula, Cieza, Alcantarilla and Mancomunidad de Sierra Espuña. 

And in order to support municipalities in complying with the technological requirements requested by the Smart Tourist Destinations model, in 2015 the following was created NEXOThe e-Destination Platform of the Region of Murcia, conceived as a common space between the central administration, local administrations and the private sector, to share knowledge and information, with the following objectives: 

  • Improve the competitiveness of enterprises.
  • Joining forces for the promotion, marketing and management of the destination.
  • To have technological tools for the collection of data on the destination at local level, which can be exploited with a regional vision.
  • Create a homogeneous framework to facilitate the incorporation of innovations in regional tourist destinations, providing them with technology, promoting sustainable development and the generation of tourist experiences and promoting their transformation to the Smart Tourist Destinations model.

The NEXO platform brings together all the technological tools developed by ITREM.

Smart Destinations

The platform Nexus thus becomes the umbrella which brings together all the technological tools developed by ITREM to promote this technology.igital transformation of the tourism sector 

Receiving the award at FITUR 2019 ITH Smart Destinations Awards for the best governance platform for Smart Tourism Destinations. 

It should be noted that Nexo hosts multiple functionalities, with special relevance to the RITMO tool, the management platform of the Network of Tourist Offices of the Region of Murcia, and constitutes the single database (CMS) of all tourist resources and events in the Region.

In this way, it has been achieved that the actors themselves are the ones who keep the regional tourism information up to date and, as it is a standard and homogeneous system for entering data, these can be reused and disseminated in multiple showcases.

It also allows the collection of statistics and satisfaction data from the users of the tourist offices and the publication of the regional agenda of tourist events, which brings together the tourist events of the 35 municipalities integrated in the Network.

This involves the collection of data on 5500 updated tourism resources and more than 2000 events published annually in the agenda. As well as the availability of 29 Open Data Services published in the regional and state open data portal ( and

In conclusion, the construction over the years of this ecosystem of technological platforms has allowed us to increase our positioning in the market. online of the Region of Murcia destination in close collaboration with local businesses and administrations and to position the 45 municipalities of the Region before the great challenge of integration with the Intelligent Country Platform. 

Interview with Leire Bilbao Laredo, director at Visit Benidorm | Tourism monograph

Leire Bilbao, Director at Visit Benidorm, in charge of managing the DMMO (Destination Marketing Management Organisation) for the city of Benidorm and leading the city's Smart Tourism Destination project.

Responsible for the Innovation Axis in the DTI Management Body, which has promoted the UNE 178501 certification (Smart Tourism Destination Management System) and the Intelligence and Smart Data Unit of Visit Benidorm.

Benidorm is the first smart tourist destination in the world to be certified according to this standard (UNE 178501) and is the only city that has certified its tourism intelligence system with the UNE 166006 R+D+i System: Technological Surveillance and Competitive Intelligence standard.

Management is the element of transformation towards a new innovative destination model, to face the changes of a complex tourism scenario.

Benidorm is one of the most popular tourist destinations in our country. How would you say digitalisation has evolved in the tourism sector and what has been the impact after the implementation of technologies applied to tourism?

Benidorm is undoubtedly one of Spain's tourism emblems and, like many destinations around the world, has undergone a profound transformation due to digitalisation. This digital evolution in the tourism sector can be seen from various perspectives.

One of the most obvious changes has been the shift from traditional bookings to online bookings. Platforms such as Booking, Airbnb and others have made it easier for tourists to compare prices, read reviews and book in real time.

Social media and mobile apps have also completely changed the way establishments interact with their customers. A tourist can now leave a comment on TripAdvisor or Google Maps that can influence the decision of other potential visitors. This has raised the standard of quality and forced businesses to be more attentive to the demands and needs of their customers.

With the help of technology, tourism services can now offer more personalised experiences. From hotels offering mobile check-in to virtual tours of places of interest, technology has made the tourism experience more convenient and tailored.

The city has also been incorporating technology to improve its processes and optimise resources to provide a better service to citizens and tourists who choose us to enjoy their holidays.

The city also hosts numerous activities and attractions that invite more and more tourists to choose this destination, but, in addition, has any specific initiative been implemented to take advantage of digital technologies in the promotion of the municipality? Which one(s)? 

Undoubtedly the city has implemented specific actions from the management of the water cycle, wifi on the beaches, to the mobility of the city. All under the umbrella of the Smart Office of Visit Benidor, which in the framework of the Smart Tourist Destinations is the witness of the monitoring of the roadmap of the city.

In the field of tourism promotion, digital marketing and social media to reach specific audiences have been essential. Social media campaigns, online advertising and partnerships with influencers and bloggers are key to our day-to-day business. But all of this emerges from the first step, which is Tourism Intelligence, and the analysis of data, from air connectivity to visitor behaviour, which allows us to manage tourism promotion. This information is shared with the tourism sector with the aim of improving and adapting services to the needs of tourists.

Benidorm is actively participating in the definition of UNE Standards, has this been reflected in the development of a smart, innovative, accessible and sustainable tourist destination? 

If we are convinced in the certification for process improvement, we participate in CTN 179 in Subgroup 5 of Smart DestinationsWe apply many certifications at the destination, but UNE 178501 is undoubtedly our flagship.

Continuous improvement in the implementation of these certifications helps us to maintain our roadmap with the same momentum.

Furthermore, it is the first municipality in the world to be certified as an "Intelligent Tourist Destination". What are the objectives to be achieved in order to comply with the legal, governmental, technological and sustainable requirements of the UNE 178501 Standard? 

Clearly, Visit Benidorm's commitment is to optimise its human and economic resources to provide a better service to residents, and therefore to be the best place for the tourists who choose us. All this under the methodology that allows us to put the focus through governance on sustainability and accessibility of the territory.

This is allowing us to continuously measure data, improve processes and evolve towards regenerative and circular tourism through participatory governance with the help of standardisation.

With regard to the incorporation of the Tourism Intelligence System for the implementation of a Smart Tourist Destination platform, what can you tell us about this project? (Project together with MINETAD and SESIAD). 

Undoubtedly, we believe that this is an opportunity to change the tourism paradigm, and for Spain to continue leading tourism competitiveness by focusing on destinations, which is where tourist visits take place. Starting to build data from the municipal level, and not from above (state or regional level) is essential to improve territorial management, and through the data to make political decisions that result in optimisation.

This process, which Benidorm has fully internalised, will gradually permeate the rest of the destinations thanks to the SIT (Territorial Information System).

If we talk about public-private collaboration in the modernisation of the sector, what roles do the Visit Benidorm Foundation and the Department of Tourism play in the development of smart initiatives?

The Visit Benidorm Foundation is undoubtedly a paradigm of public-private management in which the private sector takes a step forward in the professionalisation of tourism promotion, not only by providing knowledge, but also by participating in a 52% in economic contributions. This allows for efficient, agile and up-to-date management.

The Department of Tourism is more concerned with governance, quality, information and event management at the local level.

The collection and management of tourist knowledge is a priority to ensure good management. How is the information collected being used to create new tourism promotion strategies? 

Visit Benidorm decided that tourism intelligence was essential in its management, and in the line of standardisation it has been certified since 2016 in the UNE 166006 of Competitive Intelligence. This has made it possible to establish internal procedures to detect opportunities early on thanks to the analysis of information and research, leading to strategic modifications in specific products to optimise the low tourist season. Some examples are the sports specialisation in the field of ?running? and cycling.

On the other hand, since 2018, by reaching a consensus on information needs, different data sources have been incorporated (air travel, active listening, holiday homes...) and monthly reports have been produced (Global, Markets and Competition) which are distributed to the tourism sector for the optimisation of private processes thanks to knowledge. Undoubtedly, this improvement in global knowledge has made us more competitive.

In terms of sustainability, how would you say responsible tourism practices and resource management are integrated into Benidorm's Smart City development strategy? 

Visit Benidorm achieved under the Segittur methodology a rating of 89% in the Sustainability standard in 2018, the highest value of all the axes. So in Benidorm's DNA this axis has been internalised since its urban planning in 1956, when it decided to protect 61% of its small territory of 38 km2, and to build in a vertical model in which it consumed little land, and a lot of sky.

Visit Benidorm
+ 8.6 million tourists in 2022. Source: Europapress.

This vertical model has been key in the management of the city with major milestones such as the 96.4% of efficiency in the integral water cycle in a territory that suffers from water scarcity, making it one of the 3 cities in the world that best manage this resource, which has been possible thanks to the joint responsibility of the Benidorm Town Council, the business community and the citizens.

Waste management in just 4 hours every night regardless of the floating population of the city is another milestone (Registered residents 70,000, Floating Population 150,000-400,000) thanks to this vertical configuration.

Mobility on foot accounts for 70% of journeys through its more than 9.5 km of pedestrian zones, and has been improving the sustainable mobility strategy through PMUS (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan) with such amazing examples as the radical change of the first phase of Avenida Mediterránea where it has gone from 6 lanes for vehicles, to just one, and a bike lane, becoming the city's living room and walking space next to our Levante and Poniente promenades.

But it is not just environmental sustainability; social and economic sustainability have evolved steadily despite such serious situations for a destination whose sole industry is tourism at times as complicated as the Covid pandemic19.

And looking to the future, what are the next key steps and objectives for the modernisation and digitalisation of tourism in Benidorm?

Benidorm continues to work on its roadmap for continuous improvement, focusing not only on the sustainability of the model, but also on its circularity and regeneration with measures such as the first Climate Change Plan for a tourist city.

There are many challenges ahead of us, but the fact that Benidorm has become the laboratory of tourism innovation will allow it to move forward at great speed in terms of trends, and therefore in its leadership as a national destination.

Elliot NG, new ecosystem for the creation of technological solutions in tourism Destinations and Companies | Monograph on tourism

Thanks to its flexible structure of microservices built on Open Source components, Elliot Cloud is able to collect data from multiple sources, process it, analyse it, and exchange it securely via API with other layers and services compatible with the UNE 178104 standard.

Thus, these data that were isolated are enriched in each layer, transforming them into information with their corresponding semantics to be processed and generate knowledge with which to take the appropriate actions, both in the form of strategic decisions and in automatic processes and simulations, all oriented towards the same objective:
Getting the best out of the assets, in its broadest definition, of a destination.

Because an aircraft is more profitable the longer it is in the air

This basic concept of efficiency in the use of an asset applies to countless aspects of municipal management and development, as modern cities face a myriad of challenges to become the place where residents want to live, and the place where outsiders want to visit.

People want to live in a clean, safe environment with healthy air, clean water and quality services, as do visitors, who want unique experiences, natural spaces, leisure facilities and fast transport.

With increasing demands in a fierce globalised competition, meeting these demands is becoming increasingly difficult, especially when all resources are stretched beyond budget lines, encompassing also scarce natural resources and an increasingly stressed environment.

It is therefore essential to make the most of every euro, every drop of water, every gram of particles emitted, and above all of every piece of data, to make them a profitable and efficient investment that exceeds the expectations of both locals and visitors in a sustainable way.

It is, for example, about predicting the flows of people arriving at an airport, station or event, in order to size and make the most of the available transport units, getting them to where they are needed on time, improving the user experience without increasing the budget.

Elliot NG

Exchange information with the private sector (hotels, shows, restaurants, airlines, etc.), joining forces to offer a joint, coordinated, unique experience that attracts visitors and anticipates their demands based on knowledge of their behaviour, tastes and habits.

Analysing, for example, the behaviour of cruise ships, correlating their own data with that provided by the shipping companies to determine how tourists move once they arrive in port; knowing their impact on the environment and the transport network in order to learn and adapt both the offer and the services, and also sharing it with the surrounding hotel and catering industry so that it can be forewarned of, and act in the face of potential influxes.

Use irrigation water where it is needed, when it is needed, relying not only on meteorological information, but also on calculations based on NDVI indices obtained from satellite imagery; and know the correlation between plant health and the attractiveness of parks in terms of visits and their duration.

Knowing at what rate waste is generated in each part of the municipality in order to better plan both the quantity and arrangement of containers and the best routes for collections; anticipating exceptional situations, also considering parameters such as timetables, traffic and influx of people.

In short, it is about making every euro invested, every drop of water consumed and every particle emitted work in the same direction, contributing to the achievement of the objectives set out in a municipality's strategy.

It is there, in that airspace of resources, where Elliot Cloud, with Elliot NG, stands as the control tower that allows all those assets to be flying, generating wealth, for as long as possible:

Elliot NG
Layer modelling

Collecting data from a wide variety of sources, both in-house and external, to channel and store it efficiently through a unified model of agents adapted to different protocols and data types.

Treating and adapting the data to a certain vertical with its own semantics, e.g. UNE 178204 or UNE 178503, which allows to univocally define its ontology, and converting it into well-structured information that can be interpreted by both humans and machines.

With the use of Artificial Intelligence and non-relational data models on Graphenusan Open Source Big Data distribution that, with models adjusted to its semantics, performs simulations and predictions on reliable digital twins to anticipate optimal decisions.

Securely using and sharing data with other members of the ecosystem, both public and private, through standard protocols so that everyone can integrate and work with the full picture of the information they need.

Elliot NG

Determining alerts and automatic actions based on rules, continuous learning, and all available information to make orchestrated decisions that keep the municipality's assets in optimal condition.

All this data, this information converted into knowledge, is visualised and operated in Elliot NG's interface which, far from being unique, is customisable for each use case.

Via Elliot NGElliot Cloud, a no-code system based on interactive widgets, Elliot Cloud enables each Smart Tourism Destination create their own applications adapted to each use case (departments, areas or levels of abstraction), building a coordinated and consistent ecosystem in which each user has the information and tools they need, in the format that best suits their role.

These Elliot NG widgets are designed to explore information from three main components: multi-level lists, dashboards and maps. ? 

Lists allow you to visualise information through their relationships, both traditional and geographical, and to navigate through them to aggregate and disaggregate the entities you need to work on, enter data or visualise summaries, far beyond traditional data tables. ?  

From these lists, the interactive maps take on a new dimension, allowing dynamic layers to be generated in real time based on the data as grouped in the interactive lists? 

In the same way, the panels allow the visualisation of the information contained in the lists in the form of KPIs, time graphs, correlations of variables, scatter plots, ? arranged in the way the user chooses, with access to all the information presented in an understandable and interactive way? 

These three components interact to present the information to which each user has access according to their permissions, based on roles, which record activity in compliance with the requirements of the National Security Scheme. ? 

Elliot NG's ease of configuration and deployment of customised applications in terms of format and access, together with the interoperability between its components, make Elliot Cloud the ideal solution for managing an ecosystem of resources and users as complex as a Smart Tourism Destination in a really simple way.

Prologue by Óscar Ruiz Chicote | Monograph on Tourism

The tourism sector is immersed in a technology-driven transformation to connect the tourist with the local administration (destination) and the tourism company, providing each of these three actors with tools that allow a much more complete management and experience.

This process of evolution has not only redefined the tourist experienceIt has not only allowed for a more exclusive offer from tourism companies, but has also shaped the management of tourism destinations worldwide.

The modernisation and application of intelligence systems through massive data acquisition, including the digital tourist and the digitisation of tourism destinations and companies, has become a fundamental pillar in the development of the tourism sector. improving the management of tourist destinations.

These tools not only optimise the visitor experience, but also contribute to the alignment of strategies in the various tourism areas for both administrations and companies.

Elliot Cloud is committed to the digitisation of this economic sector, providing our solutions and technological capabilities for the collection, exchange and interoperability of data from objects, systems, actors and destinations and generating our own destination tools using low-code technology for the exploitation of this data.

After a long time analysing the sector and its solutions, and with a significant investment made, Elliot Cloud presents the tourism sector with a tool with which it can develop a new solution for the tourism sector. solutions for tourist destinationsThe new system is a good example for the administration, for the company and for the tourist.

Solutions that enable Meaningful Digitisation.

Third water monograph | Óscar Ruíz Chicote

Water is one of the basic and essential resources for life, as well as for the maintenance of the planet's ecosystems, and it is also a strategic component of our economy.

According to the data managed by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic ChallengeThe estimated water demand in Spain for the year 2021 was in the order of 32,000 hm3/year. The main use of water is on irrigation and agricultural uses, which means approximately 80.5% of this demand, followed by urban supply, which accounts for 15.5%. This is followed by, would be industrial use.  

In the midst of a knowledge-based society, there is a lack of comprehensive information on water use, as well as a lack of from losses occurring in distribution networks due to leaks, breaks or seepage.  

In this context, aware of the strategic importance of water and the need to reinforce the response to the adverse effects of climate change, the Spanish Government presents the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) Digitalisation of Irrigation. which addresses the need to undertake a complete modernisation of the water cycle in the country in order to move towards more efficient and sustainable management. of the same. To this end, this PERTE includes a set of transformative and facilitating measures that optimise the economic potential of the sector and put an end to the inefficiencies identified in the system. Many of these inefficiencies will be eliminated through the digitisation of irrigation. 

The agricultural sector is at risk due to the drought situation that we are experiencing after a half of 2023 in the that rainfall levels have been 75% lower than the average of the last ten years at this very period of time. The consequences of this water crisis for the agricultural sector affect us all directly and indirectly. We must act.  

We cannot control whenanBut we can take a step forward to improve the efficiency and management of the water resources that the sector needs through the digitalisation of irrigation. Because the availability of food for the population will depend on it. This is a challenge that we must face, and we have an exceptional opportunity to meet it with the call for PERTE aid of Digitisation of the Water Cycle for irrigation.  

Achieving digitisation of irrigation is essential. From Elliot Cloud we are committed to contributing to the current fight against drought and climate change by proposing technological solutions that help the agricultural sector to meet present and future challenges in the efficient management of water resources. Technology is a powerful tool at our disposal that we must use to make water use more efficient.  

With Elliot Water we not only cover the seven eligible digital solutions if not that we bring the added value of data processing through advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to build robust, scalable and secure solutions without losing the focus of a Digitisation with Meaning. 

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