As part of my Master’s Degree Programme in Governance of Digitalization at the Åbo Akademi in Turku (Finland), I was required to write a Master’s Thesis. Since I have previously studied Tourism Management, I was interested in a Tourism related subject. I decided to write my Thesis about the smart tourist within a smart destination context, after reading: “Towards a conceptualization of smart tourists and their role within the smart destination scenario” by Barbara Neuhofer, Francisco Femenina-Serra and Josep Ivars Baidal, which has been published in the Service Industries Journal.
The thesis aims to explore the characteristics of smart tourists based on three research questions. Data were obtained through an online survey that has been distributed through Facebook and analyzed by using Principal Component Analysis in SPSS. The results were also compared to a similar study that has been done previously and confirms that there exists a gap between the smart destination theoretical expectations and the real response of the smart tourists related to mobile technology use, data sharing for personalized experiences and smart technologies for enhanced experiences. The study revealed that innovative technologies are not the most important aspect for tourists. There are certain limitations in this study such as most respondents came from Finland or English-speaking countries and most of the respondents were in Gen X and Millennials age groups. DMO’s could use the result of this study to adapt their policies and actions.
The Thesis can be found here.