The aim is to analyse a regional cultural tourism object in Latvia, focusing on the elements of smart tourism as an indication of opportunities provided by digital technologies and its practical application.
The research employed data from the Central Statistical Office of the Republic of Latvia (hereinafter CSB), publicly available reports by ministries of the Republic of Latvia (hereinafter RoL), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (hereinafter OECD) etc., as well as summarized scientific findings on the research problem. Data on the use of smart technology elements at the Rundale Palace Museum were obtained in two ways: from public reports on the museum in 2016–2021 and additionally an expert interview was conducted with the deputy director of the museum. The expert interview questions were semi-structured.
The characteristics of cultural tourism indicate the use of ICT in destination management, marketing, planning, process organization and changes in organizational culture. The recognizable elements of smart cultural tourism are the smart travel destination, smart experiences and smart business. 4.0 G technologies are required to ensure the functioning of the elements: artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the Internet of things, blockchain, cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality. Smart cultural tourism is a unified system involving several levels of national and municipal institutions, organizations, entrepreneurs and NGOs. The implementation of smart cultural tourism requires centralized funding to implement and manage digital connectivity between the stakeholders. In the Latvian and Baltic context, the Rundale Palace Museum has been established as a cultural tourism object – a Renaissance palace museum, which is the second most visited museum in Latvia. The Rundale Palace Museum digitizes the services it provides within its financial possibilities, e.g. cloud data for remote purchase of visitor tickets, self-registration of visitors in the single visitor system, augmented reality and mobile applications. The Internet of things is not used, while artificial intelligence is partially used by the museum. At the Rundale Palace Museum as a smart tourist destination, the research did not identify the following features: a technological platform, a smart destination strategy and use of big data. Further, public-private consumer cooperation is not in place. The Rundale Palace Museum was not identified as an element of smart business, as a single smart business ecosystem for cultural tourism has not been created in the entirety of Latvia as yet nor in the Zemgale region in particular. Communication between cooperation partners occurred via telephone.
Few research studies on digital solutions for cultural tourism in Latvia and in the region of Zemgale, where the largest Renaissance pearl in Latvia and the Baltic States – the Rundale Palace Museum – is located, have been conducted; hence, this study contributes to addressing the research gap.
Jankova, L., Auzina, A. and Zvirbule, A. (2023), "Regional smart cultural tourism destinations in a region of Latvia", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 507-516. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-06-2023-0082
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