16 May What makes the Canary Islands the ideal place to develop tourism technology?
The four places in the Canary Islands have been recognized as a Smart Destination by Spain’s network of 24 Smart Tourist Destinations.
A Smart Tourist Destination (DTI for its initials in Spanish) is a well-established, innovative destination equipped with cutting-edge technological infrastructure that guarantees sustainable development for the tourist area; is accessible to all; facilitates visitors’ interactions and integration with the surroundings, and enhances the quality of both visitors’ experiences and the lives of local residents.
Two of the destinations that meet these criteria in the Canaries are found on the island of Tenerife: Arona and Puerto de la Cruz. The other two are on the islands of El Hierro and Gran Canaria.
Still wondering what makes the Canary Islands the ideal place to develop tourism technology?
An ideal place to develop innovations in the tourist industry.
The Canary Islands welcome over 15 million tourists a year. The mild temperatures enable visitors to enjoy the beach or the mountains any month of the year.
In addition, the Canarian archipelago has an ample supply of high-quality hotel accommodations, and its natural features offer tourists a wide range of options: rest and relaxation, beach, nature, sports, museums, shopping centers, water parks…
As if that weren’t enough, the tourism sector is one of the critical pillars of the Canary Island’s economy, and Tenerife welcomes more visitors than any other island (36.6% of the total in 2018).
Because tourism is so vital for the Canary Islands, developing technology and innovating is crucial in order to make the region more competitive and improve quality for tourists, society, and the environment.
This creates a series of key opportunities both for introducing new tourist industry products that expand upon the main offer of sun and beach, and for offering advanced services by developing applied technology: developing software for ICT projects and management, renewing accommodations facilities, and offering alternative leisure activities, among other things.
Various travel destinations in the Canary Islands support and promote technological innovations such as test centers for these types of projects.
The Tenerife Tourism Innovation Cluster
Through Tenerife’s Tourism Innovation Cluster, innovative tourism companies develop and direct initiatives to promote technological innovation,
Some of the projects the Cluster has helped promote include:
- Birmagen-Añaza Ecological Hub: a project dedicated to studying possible ways to improve the environment, the economy, and society through the creative management of resources from the coast to the mountain summit.
- Effi-e Play Green: an innovative tourism technology that uses an app to inform tourists about their energy and water consumption in real time and suggests measures to conserve resources. The app also rewards users for their environmental efforts by offering various rewards.
Tenerife: A First-Rate Tourist Destination
In this respect, the state-owned company that manages tourism technology and innovation, (SEGITTUR) bestows the label Smart Tourist Destination (DTI) on regions that comply with a series of innovative and technological requirements along five lines: governance, innovation, technology, sustainability, and accessibility.
The aim is to promote innovation in these destinations by implementing and developing ICTs to create highly competitive, distinctive services, while also making the destinations more sustainable and accessible.
This is how the municipalities of Arona and Puerto de la Cruz became DTI destinations.
The tourist town of Puerto de la Cruz—on the north coast of the island of Tenerife—is the leading destination for tourists from other parts of Spain visiting Tenerife. The town welcomes 33.4% of all travelers arriving on the island.
It is also one of the few destinations in the Canarian Archipelago that presents a singular offer and has managed to reposition its tourist offer based on three major lines: active tourism, culture-tradition-celebrations, and gastronomy.
Meanwhile, the town of Arona—on the southern side of Tenerife—is the third most populous municipality on the island and also the most densely populated town in the southern part of the Canary Islands.
Arona is a founding member of the Smart Tourist Destinations Network. This distinction has helped bolster its digital transformation through innovative tourism projects that contemplate a program of actions aimed at confronting the challenges presented by the new economic, social, and technological world context. It has also helped promote innovation, accessibility, and sustainability at the local level.
Since last February 2019, both municipalities are recognized as part of the DTI Smart Tourist Destinations Network.
Smart destinations consolidate a tourist destination as an innovative place, supported by a cutting-edge technological infrastructure that guarantees sustainable development in the region.
In short, Tenerife as a Smart Island and as a top-tier destination in a region in which tourism is one of the most important activities—presents many opportunities for R&D+i (Research and Development, plus Innovation) in the tourist sector.