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Smart tourism destinations: a critical reflection

Rodolfo Baggio (Master in Economics and Tourism, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy and Division for Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Core Engineering Education, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk, Russian Federation)
Roberto Micera (Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed), National Research Council (CNR), Naples, Italy)
Giacomo Del Chiappa (Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy and School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 8 October 2020

Issue publication date: 31 October 2020




The aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the main literature contributions that concern smart tourism development and management, highlighting gaps and logical inconsistencies. In addition, to further stress the importance of the issues at stake, a simulation is performed for showing how technology allows achieving better outcomes when a certain level of efficiency is obtained via re-engineering of main organizational and operational processes.


A content analysis of recent relevant literature is performed with the help of machine learning topic modelling algorithms. A network analytic approach to digital ecosystems, then, is used to study the relationship between technological tools and physical entities in a destination and how these and their combination affect the efficiency of the system at local and global levels.


The literature analyzed lacks a good discussion on the necessity to improve and rationalize the operational and organizational processes while emphasizing mostly the technological aspects. On the other hand, the simulation case presented shows that if information and knowledge flows are reasonably efficient and well organized in the physical world, the integration of digital components further enhances these processes, whereas inefficiencies can hinder the flow of information and reduce its efficiency.


Apart from the methods used, relatively little explored, the authors show that, as also much of the computer science literature states, a fundamental prerequisite for successful “smart” projects is a logical and effective restructuring of the main operational and organizational processes.


本论文旨在分析关于智慧旅游发展和管理话题的主要文献, 指出文献缺口和逻辑矛盾。此外, 为了进一步指出这个话题的重要性, 本论文运行了一个模拟程序, 以证明科技如何帮助冲破瓶颈达到新的高峰, 通过重组重要组织和流程管理。


本论文采用内容分析法, 并借助机器学习建模程序。本论文采用电子生态环境的网络分析方法来研究科技工具与实体设备在旅游目的地中的关联, 以及如何这些设备资源能够融合在区域和全球范围内提高系统效率。


文献分析结果表明, 大部分文章都着重强调科技方面, 而忽略了运营和组织流程的改进。此外, 本论文展示的模拟案件表明如果信息和知识流在实体世界中有效的利用和管理, 那么与电子软配件的结合就会更加相得益彰, 相反, 如果未达到有效结合, 那么将阻碍信息流和降低效率。


除去本文利用的研究方法相对很少学者涉及, 正如计算机科学文献所说, 本论文证实了成功的“智能”项目所需要的前提条件是主要运营和管理流程的逻辑有效的重组。



Rodolfo Baggio acknowledges the financial support of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation in the framework of the Competitiveness Enhancement Program of the Tomsk Polytechnic University.


Baggio, R., Micera, R. and Del Chiappa, G. (2020), "Smart tourism destinations: a critical reflection", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 407-423.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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