ICT Applications in Smart Ecotourism Environments

Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


Radical technological developments and their applications can largely contribute to a more effective management of challenges currently faced by our planet. Nevertheless, the light has up to now been shed on urban environments, mainly due to the rapidly evolving urbanization trends and related consequences; while the implications of Information and Communication Technologies (ΙCT) in rural areas and communities, although quite promising, are less explored. In the present paper, the focus is on that type of environments, and more specifically on the role ICT can play for the protection of valuable ecosystems that are forming the ground for ecotourism development. Ecotourism embraces the principles of Sustainable Tourism (ST), as an alternative tourism form that is largely concerned for the economic, social and, most importantly, environmental impacts of this sector. Preserving ecosystems’ values in ecotourism destinations imply the need for steadily monitoring ecotourism developments and associated impacts in such destinations, with ICT offering important tools for accomplishing such a task. In this respect the paper aims, by reviewing a range of the academic reports and literature, at deriving crucial aspects that need to be dealt with in a variety of ecotourism dimensions; and matching them with a range of relevant ICT-enabled tools and applications. The results of this conceptual paper reveal the key ICT-enabled tools/applications for managing ecotourism destinations, thus setting the ground for case-specific policy directions towards an environmentally-responsible ecotourism development.


Rural areas and communities ICT tools and technologies Smart ecotourism development Policy 



Community Informatics


Community Multimedia Centers


Customer Relationship Management


Computer Simulation


Destination Management System


Decision Support Systems


Economic Impact Analysis Software


Environment Management Information System


Enterprise Resource Planning


Global Positioning System


Intelligent Transport System


Location Based Games


Location Based Services


Multipurpose Community Telecentres


Social Media


Tourism Information System


Virtual Learning Environment


Virtual Tourism


Weather Climate and Ocean Change forecasting Software


Wireless Local Area Networks


Electronic Word Of Mouth


  1. Ali, A., & Frew, A. J. (2009, June 21). ICT and sustainable tourism development: An analysis of the literature. Paper presented at 2009 Hospitality Information Technology Association Conference, Anaheim.Google Scholar
  2. Ali, A., & Frew, A. J. (2010, February 10–12). ICT and its role in sustainable tourism development. Paper presented at 2010 International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism, Lugano.Google Scholar
  3. Ali, A., & Frew, A. J. (2014). Technology innovation and applications in sustainable destination development. Information Technology & Tourism, 14(4), 265–290.Google Scholar
  4. Buhalis, D., & Amaranggana, A. (2014). Smart tourism destinations. In Z. Xiang & I. Tussyadiah (Eds.), Information and communication technologies in tourism. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. DANTE. (2014). Information and communication technologies supporting tourism in rural and mountain areas (good practice guide). Accessed November 19, 2016.
  6. Dearden, P., Bennett, M., & Johnston, J. (2005). Trends in global protected area governance 1992–2002. Environmental Management, 36(1), 89–100. doi:  10.1007/s00267-004-0131-9
  7. Donohoe, H. M., & Needhlam, R. D. (2006). Ecotourism: The evolving contemporary definition. Journal of Ecotourism, 5(3), 192–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. European Commission. (2013). e-business watch (Sector report No 13 II/July).…/pdf. Accessed June 19, 2016.
  9. Fennell, D. A. (2001). A content analysis of ecotourism definitions. Current Issues in Tourism, 4(5), 403–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Franklin, M., & Hosein, R. (2009, July 28–29). Integrating ICTs into ecotourism and sustainable community development. Paper presented at the 1st International Conference on Turtle Conservation, Ecotourism and Sustainable Community Development, St. Augustine.Google Scholar
  11. Gretzel, U. (2011). Intelligent systems in tourism: A social science perspective. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(3), 757–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grimshaw, D. J. (2011). Technological innovation can work for the poor. Global: The international briefing, Accessed 4 Dec 2016.
  13. Hall, C. M. (2004). Ecotourism policy. In D. Diamantis (Ed.), Ecotourism: Management and assessment (pp. 135–148). London: Thomson Learning.Google Scholar
  14. Haubensak, O. (2011). Smart cities and internet of things. Zurich: ETH.Google Scholar
  15. Henning, S., Vogler, R., & Moller, M. (2013, June 10–12). Use of modern information and communication technology in large protected areas. Paper presented at 5th Symposium for research in Protected Areas, Mittersill (pp. 289–294).Google Scholar
  16. Huang, X. K., Yuan, J. Z., & Shi, M. Y. (2012). Condition and key issues analysis on the smarter tourism construction in China. Multimedia and Signal Processing (pp. 444–450). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. IUCN. (1994). Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories. IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas with the assistance of World Conservation Monitoring Center, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  18. Law, R., Leung, R., & Buhalis, D. (2009). Information technology applications in hospitality and tourism: A review of publications from 2005 to 2007. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 26(5–6), 599–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sharpley, R. (2010). The myth of sustainable tourism. CSD (Centre for Sustainable Development) Working Papers Series 2009/2010. Accessed February 10, 2015.
  20. UN. (2004). Global e-government readiness report 2004—Toward access for opportunity. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Public Administration and Development Management.Google Scholar
  21. UNEP & WTO—United Nations Environment Programme & World Tourism Organization. (2005). Making tourism more sustainable—a guide for policy makers. Accessed November 19, 2016.
  22. World Economic Forum. (2010). The global information technology report 2009–2010. Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
  23. ZEW—Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung. (2010). Interaktiv, mobil, international—Unternehmen im Zeitalter von Web 2.0 (report 9). Mannheim: ZEW.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, School of Business and EconomicsTechnological Educational Institute of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Metsovion Interdisciplinary Research Center, National Technical University of Athens, GreeceAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations