[RMIT University Vietnam] Smart tourism can transform the visitor experience and enhance the long-term competitiveness of Vietnam’s travel destinations, according to RMIT University academic Dr Jackie Ong.
An increasing number of countries across the world are investing in smart technology systems to build smart cities, driving sustainable development and improving people’s life.
In line with this universal trend, many tourism destinations are now modernising to include the use of smart technology in their operations, which range from booking services, payment methods to interactive activities and resource management.
Destinations leading the way with their smart tourism industry include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubai, London, Melbourne, New York, Oslo, Singapore and Tokyo.
At these destinations, tourists can use their smartphones to perform simple tasks such as self-servicing and airport check-in, paying for taxis, ordering meals, verifying queue times, and reading information on the destination or attraction that they are visiting through a supplied QR code.
Many tourism destinations are now modernising to include the use of smart technology in their operations (photo: Unsplash).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of smart technology has become even more apparent. Many destinations are now employing artificial intelligence, having robots replace humans in labour-intensive work in hotels, restaurants, and amusement parks. Some also develop virtual tours or augmented tours to complement onsite tours.
Technology and talent go hand in hand
As an emerging destination with a young tech-savvy workforce, the future of Vietnam’s tourism is bright. There is ample opportunity for the tourism sector here to learn from global destinations and adopt the right technologies to transform the visitor experience, thereby enhance the long-term competitiveness of tourism.
The first obvious step for Vietnamese tourism destinations is to invest in information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure for the “5As of tourism”: accessibility, attractions, activities, amenities and ancillary services.
However, smart tourism is more than just the adoption of technology. It comprises many other aspects including sustainability, efficiency, innovation and management.
A crucial requirement is having smart human talent to manage smart tourism. Future leaders and senior managers in tourism need to be equipped with technological acumen, critical, managerial, and analytical thinking, as well as problem-solving skills in order to generate positive solutions to global sustainability issues.
Dr Jackie Ong, Senior Program Manager for Tourism and Hospitality Management, RMIT University (Image Credit: RMIT University Vietnam).
Here, education and training play a crucial role. In RMIT University’s Tourism and Hospitality Management program, for example, students benefit from a focus on sustainability, authentic assessment, and work integrated learning in all courses.
In terms of curriculum, the program is including more data analytical and digital business in project assessment, with a view to prepare students for the smart digitisation era.
Further, the university also works with industry partners to expand job placements beyond the traditional working onsite in a hotel. These include online sales, online event management, and consultancy relating to smart tourism and hospitality trends.
All these strategies reflect and reinforce smart tourism practices and management. Together, they can serve the ultimate goals of smart tourism, which is to improve the efficiency of resource management, maximise competitiveness and enhance sustainability through the use of technological innovations and practices.
Story: Dr Jackie Ong, Senior Program Manager for Tourism and Hospitality Management, RMIT University