From September 2nd to the 4th, the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit co-hosted by World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and Helsinki was held in the city of Helsinki. Focusing on the theme “Smart Tourism: Road to City Innovation and Development”, four theme forums were held in the summit with topics as follows, “Cultural Heritage & Creative Industry”, “Intelligent Tourism City Marketing”, “Connectivity and Tourism Growth”, “Technological Innovation & Sustainable Travel”.
The moderator of Forum Session I: Cultural Heritage & Creative Industry on the afternoon of the 3rd was Prof. Karl Wober, Director of WTCF Expert Committee, President of Modul University Vienna. The participants of the Forum Session I included Mr. Bidya Sunder Shakya, Mayor of Kathmandu, Mr. Frank Ross, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Mr. Andres O. Hayes, International Business Manager, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development, Washington DC, Mr. Zhang Hui, Chairman of Palm Investment Company, Mr. Geng Danhao, Senior Vice President, iQIYI, Inc., Dr. Kurt Grotsch, Art Tourism Manager, Director of Flamenco Dance Museum. Culture plays a fundamental role in the urban economy, and also works as the center for the urban tourism experience. The forum aimed to improve the position of cities in the global tourism market by exploring how cultural heritage and creative industries become tools for changing the urban environment. At the same time, cultural tourism itself can become a catalyst for income generation through heritage protection and management innovation. Mr. Zhang Hui, Chairman of Palm Investment Company, mentioned that investment should be in accordance with the demands and that we should think about what kinds of actions should be taken before we invest that are creative enough to display the local characteristics, so that we can bring our guests, government and residents what they really want. Therefore, we should attach great importance to creative ideas on tourism and focus on the inheritance of tourism. “Only in-depth experiences based on the scene can bring effective tourism investment”.
Forum Session I: Cultural Heritage & Creative Industry photo by WTCF
Under the topic of Intelligent Tourism City Marketing, the Forum Session II discussed how to use innovative digital tools to create intelligent marketing, providing strategic information for tourism industry. The moderator of this forum was Mr. Roger Carter, Deputy Director of WTCF Expert Committee, Managing Director of Team Tourism Consulting. The participants included Mr. David Andre, Mayor of Victoria, Mr. He Shengkang, Consultant to the Secretariat of the WTCF, Ms. Wen Shuqiong, First Grade Counselor of Yunnan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Ge Yujing, Vice President of Tuniu.com, Mr. Takamatsu Masato, WTCF Expert, Managing Director & Chief Research Officer of JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. Using the platform “Visiting Yunnan Via One Mobile Phone” as an example, Ms. Wen Shuqiong, First Grade Counselor of Yunnan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, mainly introduced how to build a smart tourism city in the era of big data. On October 1st, the overall smart traveling platform “Visiting Yunnan Via One Mobile Phone” joined by the Yunnan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and Tencent company officially went online. It relies on “internet plus tourism services”, which means it provides tourists with a series of internet products such as “intelligent route”, “cashless payment”, “electronic invoice”, “facial recognition”, “intelligent tour guide” and “integrity system”. With this platform, the vision that our tourists can travel freely and the government management can be seen everywhere will finally be implemented.
Forum Session II Intelligent Tourism City Marketing photo by WTCF
The Forum Session III “Connectivity and Tourism Growth” on September 4th further illustrated the new trend of connectivity and its influences on growth and development. The moderator of this session was Prof. & Dr. Song Rui, WTCF Expert, Director of Tourism Research Center, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Focusing on the topic, exchanges and discussions were made by guests including Mr. Takamatsu Masato, WTCF Expert, Managing Director & Chief Research Officer of JTB Tourism Reasearch & Consulting Co., Ms. Mika Cui, Vice President of Qyer.com, Mr. Marfus Schults, CEO of Tallink Sijia, Mr. Kimmo Maki, President and CEO of Finavia Corporation, Mr. Roger Qiu, GM of Europe, Middle East & Affrica, Destination Marketing, Ctirp, Dr. Tokumura Shisei, WTCF Expert, Professor of Hangzhou Normal University. Mr. Tokumura Shisei took the floor firstly. He stressed that the development of tourism needs both soft and hard measures and connectivity isn’t only about connection but also about broadness. He believes that global cities are different from common ones and that the comfortability of the tourist destination is what the guests really care about. Mr. Kimmo Maki, President and CEO of Finavia Corporation, expressed that the infrastructural construction of the airport has a large influence on our guests’ first impression of the city. While searching for conveniences, tourists also want to avoid risks, therefore all parties should work together to meet the requirements of our guests. Mr. Takamatsu Masato, WTCF Expert, emphasized more on the importance of communication connectivity of the tourist destination. Although many traveling apps keep upgrading, there are still many cities in the world that do not offer free WIFI facilities. Tourism service providers should offer solutions to solve this kind of problem. By doing so, we can provide smarter traveling experiences for our guests, and also help our service providers ease the pressure of promotions and advertising.
Forum Session III Connectivity and Tourism Growth photo by WTCF
The moderator of Forum Session IV: Technological Innovation & Sustainable Travel was Mr. Paavo Virkkunen, Executive Director of Business Finland, Head of Visit Finland. The participants included Ms. Pia Pakarinen, Deputy Mayor of the City of Helsinki, Mr. Gonzalo Robredo, President of the Tourism Entity of the City of Buenos Aires, Mr. Mikko Turtiainen, Vice President of Global Sales Finnair, Mr. Kim Kyu Lyong, Director of Tourism Policy Division, Seoul, Ms. Noa Sapir, Head of Tel Aviv Convention Bureau, Israel, and Mr. James Vos, Mayral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities & Asset Management, City of Cape Town. Through case demonstrations, this forum discussed how cities can use innovative strategies and digital technologies to maximize economic and social benefits while minimizing the impact on the environment and cultural characteristics.
Forum Session IV: Technological Innovation & Sustainable Travel photo by WTCF
Focusing on the theme “the development trend of smart tourism”, the four forums garnered the perspectives of tourism cities, institutions, scholars and elites in the industry, to discuss the current situation and challenges of the development of smart tourism on a global scale with data and facts. Moreover, it was also an opportunity to share effective solutions to bring smart tourism closer to fruition.
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