Francisco Femenia-Serra, Barbara Neuhofer

Smart tourism experiences: conceptualisation, key dimensions and research agenda

«Smart tourism» has gained momentum in research fostered by the revolution of the latest generation of information and communication technologies and has rapidly become a leading stream of literature. The concept has permeated governments and the business sphere and has been accompanied by the quest for developing smart devices, services and tourist destinations. However, experiences as the main focus of smartness development in tourism and destinations have received comparably little attention in the smart discourse. Smart destinations, as new ecosystems backed by concrete geographical contexts, facilitate the co-creation of a rich, technology-based, smart tourism experience (STE). Yet, a clear definition and examination of the dimensions of what constitutes a smart tourism experience is still to be developed. This paper aims to discuss the main core precedent constructs of STEs, namely: a) technology enhanced experiences and b) smart destinations, to underpin a holistic definition of a smart tourism experience. Based on an in-depth literature review, a novel conceptual model for this concept is developed and an agenda for further research is proposed drawing on the identified key themes and dimensions of this construct. By mapping out smart tourism experiences and providing real examples, this research contributes to the theoretical foundations of smart tourism and tourist experiences.

Keywords: smart tourism experience; tourist experience; smart tourism; smart destination; co-creation; research agenda; smart tourism destination

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