Towards IT-based convergence tourism
The tourism industry’s impact on Korean society is growing constantly. This year, the tourism industry showed 77.6 million dollars in surplus in September and 54 million in October, making a solid contribution to the Korean economy.
In order to boost the constant growth of the tourism industry and its contribution to the economy and society, the industry should deviate from the conventional paradigm and pursue a more comprehensive and innovative model. Instead of celebrating the increase in the number of foreign tourists, especially the Chinese, we need to take advantage of the golden time to reform the characteristics of Korean tourism.
Korea’s secret weapon to compete with world-class tourist destinations is convergence tourism using information technology. Korea’s IT basis is arguably the best in the world. Social networks using the Internet and smartphones are widely used, and the crowd-sourcing method of developing ideas and products through the contributions of the public is actively applied. The spread of the Internet of Things has allowed people to access information more easily, and people share their experiences through cloud services. In the digital environment, tourists from around the world armed with the Internet and a smartphone search tourism information regardless of time and space.
IT-savvy tourists share the information with other tourists, and encourage others to use the information they expand. Tourists generate tourism information online, and such information provides more resources and creates added value. The live tourism information system would have tremendous influence.
Smartphones allow information searches anytime, anywhere, and IT-based convergence tourism will not only give Korean tourism a means and strategy to keep dominance in global tourism market, but also sets a milestone for new form of tourism for the future. Just as convergence industries like medicine, art and ecotourism showed, IT-based convergence tourism should be preceded by the participation and training of a competent workforce.
Kim Nam-jo, Professor of tourism at Hanyang University