Technology as a Catalyst of Change: Enablers and Barriers of the Tourist Experience and their Consequences


The way people experience travel has changed!

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have had a major impact on how people experience travel. One of the most extensive transformations has been promoted by the increase of information and communication technologies in everyday life and travel.

That’s why tourism research and management have been increasingly interested in exploring the role of ICTs, which became a major driver for change and so a central instrument for innovation.


ICTs caused a change?

In recent years information and communication technologies have caused a huge impact by transforming the nature of travel and tourist experience. ICTs have contributed to an increasing independence of consumers. Now consumers can interact and share through social media, access and gather information and book online.

With the increase of ICTs, social platforms, mobile devices, the opportunities of supporting tourist activities, providing and exchanging information and solving need situations have become intensified.

For experience design, ICTs are thus seen as the potential driver of change that raises and changes tourist experiences on multiple levels.


ICTs – the tool for tourist experiences:

The value of smartphones is bigger than ever. Information and communication technologies make it possible to connect and enable tourist experiences, promote increased social engagement and involve consumers to co-create experiences and to support and share on-trip experiences by the use of social networks.


Are technologies enablers or barriers of tourist experiences?

A recent study by Neuhofer et al. has shown that technology has several key benefits for tourism experiences, but may also create some barriers when people use ICTs during travel on-site.

This study explores the role of smartphones in the tourist experience and shows that there are numerous benefits of ICTs, as to enrich communications, gather information, share, co-construct and augmented experiences.

On the flipside, ICTs have also been found to provide potential barriers to experiences, especially when ICTs have deficiencies that limit the creation and enhancement of tourist experiences, such as entry and usage costs, and a series of software and hardware, as well as usage issues.

The paper by Dr Barbara Neuhofer, Prof Dimitrios Buhalis and Dr Adele Ladkin bridges the gap between #enablers and #barriers and identifies on the one side the technological enablers that foster, on the other side barriers that limit the creation of tourist experiences, and what consequences this has on tourist experiences.


More information about this study

This is how you can cite the study:

Neuhofer, B., Buhalis, D. and Ladkin, A. (2015) Technology as a Catalyst of Change: Enablers and Barriers of the Tourist Experience and Their Consequences. In  Tussyadiah, I. and Inversini A.Technology as a Catalyst of Change: Enablers and Barriers of the Tourist Experience and Their Consequences 2015, Lugano, Switzerland: Springer Verlag, pp. 789-802.

Here is the link to the publisher: Springer Link

Here you can download and read the article on Research Gate and Academia


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