Nowadays, tourism sector is supported by the development of new technologies. Aim of this paper is to examine the use of ICTs in the tourist sector and more specifically some of the applications and tools that have already implemented for tourist destination marketing and management using advanced technologies such as interactive multimedia, digital maps, virtual reality (VR) and so on.
This paper focuses on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with particular concern on its effects on tourism development in Europe and Greece. Next section introduces the concept of e-tourism and gives a broad reference of many of the innovative methods used in order to help countries to promote and support their tourist products.
The use of Internet has changed the structure and the value chain of tourist industry. Consumers were those who have benefited the most since their power for bargains increased. This is due to the possibility they have now to access online to accurate information or communicate directly with suppliers, while meantime they benefit from lower prices. Internet has caused greater competitiveness among suppliers and introduced transparency, speed, flexibility, convenience and variety of alternatives on the market. The real time communication with tourist players facilitated the immediate distribution of products and led to the adoption of modern and new distribution channels. The ICT applications and tools influence tourism industry in a growing manner. The ICT penetration into the tourism sector will be supported by today’s development and establishment of new online technologies, such as web pages, WAP, PDA and so on, the growing ICT interactivity (hypermedia, interactive maps, GIS applications etc), growing personalization (i.e. sophisticated information search, presented information structure on the base of user’s preferences and behavior), growing information transmission speed, growing security of e-business transactions (cryptology, communication protocols). The development of new and more powerful ICT applications empowers both suppliers and destinations to enhance their efficiency and re-engineer their communication strategies.
Innovative technologies will support interoperability, personalization, and constant networking.