An Investigation into Information and Communication Technologies-Based Applications for Sustainable Tourism Development of Destinations
Ali, A. (2009) An Investigation into Information and Communication Technologies-Based Applications for Sustainable Tourism Development of Destinations, no. 350.
Sustainable tourism is a heavily researched concept but in reality there has been limited implementation of the principles and practices of sustainable tourism for destinations. Adopting a destination focused perspective, this thesis presents research which expounded Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a practical, new and innovative approach to sustainable tourism development i.e. computer-supported sustainability. A literature review revealed that there was no specific study focusing on the uses and applications of ICT for sustainable tourism development despite the mention and benefits of doing so. However it did identify that several opportunities existed in destination management for using ICT as well as a collection of ICT-based tools/applications which can be used for managing different aspects of sustainable tourism. Therefore an investigative analysis was necessary in building a solid body of work on the uses and applications of ICT for sustainable tourism as a practical approach for destination managers. These findings formed the input for the primary research which was conducted in two phases: surveys administered to destination managers and eTourism experts followed by semi-structured interviews with experts in this domain identified from the surveys. The primary research alongside the literature findings led to the development of a descriptive framework which identified, categorised and described the uses of these ICT-based tools/applications for managing tourism's impacts. Assessment procedures based on the sustainability goals of the destination were then developed in order assist destination managers selecting the ICT-based tools/applications that were best suited for managing the sustainable tourism development of their destinations. The conclusion of this research clearly identifies that destination managers' sophisticated application of ICT to sustainable tourism is the next logical and practical step they can take in making sustainable tourism a workable reality for their destinations. This research is the building block for prospective research in the ICT-sustainable tourism domain. Future research avenues would be to use the results presented to determine the suitability, applicability and feasibility of the ICT-based tools/applications presented for destination managers. This existing research can be used to develop a more co-ordinated approach to theory development and engage in more empirical research to address tourism challenges with regards to using ICT for sustainable tourism development.