End Date: 30/06/2015
Funding: ΕΣΠΑ 2007-2013
Project Leader: Chamzas Christodoulos
Cultural and nature tourism is a vital economic sector that contributes to the Greek gross domestic product. In order for Greece to increase its tourism product value, not only infrastructure, marketing and e-commerce services should be improved, but also novel advanced and unique information services have to be deployed. Despite the wealth of cultural sites and attractions in Greece, many are unknown and unexploited. The Thrace region is an obvious example, where visiting unattended cultural or natural sites where information is unavailable is a common situation.
E- tourism services that enhance visitor’s experiences by providing in situ timely validated information are still inexistent or insufficient. The visit is usually affected by severe content issues such as: inadequate or outdated content, inaccessibility, introduced by language barriers and misinformation. Most of the existing e-tourism systems mainly provide Web- based access to tourist information and services. In most cases, that is experienced prior to the visit while only a few provide in situ services. The latter are usually limited to specific sites (museums, or popular archeological sites). Thus, there is an imminent need for developing e- tourism services and associated digital cultural content that will be available on the spot for places of interest while the tourist is visiting a cultural site, a scene of natural beauty or mainly unattended cultural attractions where no other source of valid information is directly available. Furthermore, social networking and social media applications have already large user penetration. They are utilised in various contexts (business and pleasure) as they allow content co-creation and sharing by setting users as active content contributors and reviewers.
The iGuide proposal aims at enabling a socially enriched tourism mobile guide service, accessible from visitor’s personal smartphones while addressing a much wider range of sites and traditional places than existing solutions. The proposed service will allow visitors to contribute to the cultural heritage content enrichment of the visiting places by uploading user- generated media (images, audio, videos, e.t.c.) along with their personalised content about the acquired experiences. At the same time, users will be able to receive supplementary added value location- based services and recommendations than enhance their visiting experience, facilitate place-of-interest wandering and their direct interactions with local provisions.