Technology, ICT and tourism: from big data to the big picture
The past years have seen an unprecedented growth in the ICT economy that has fundamentally altered business models and consumer cultures. Many of the changes this has implied are specifically relevant for tourism, a sector that perhaps more than any other is exposed to and implicated in digital innovation, consumer-business interrelationships, and platform reliance. Most studies of the digitalization of the tourism economy have focused on either business or consumer outcomes; much less attention has been paid to the implications for the Sustainable Development Goals. It is for this reason that this special issue on technology, ICT and tourism focuses on a diverse range of issues related to ICT sustainability: tourism as an opportunity for “digital detox,” the role of social networks in foodstagramming, virtual reality tours to explore tourist attractions from home, teaching simulations to improve learning about systems, big data analysis to determine prevalence of environmental interest, as well as regulatory demands on platforms to address principles of accountability, responsibility and transparency. The paper draws the preliminary conclusion that technology & ICTs advance SDGs at best in marginal ways, and that significant efforts are needed to make use of its potential for wider desirable outcomes.