The overall objective of the project is to develop collaboration between the European authorithy tourist offices and private branded guides publishers towards increasing the flow of tourists into european cities and regions. It will trial new tools for the tourism industry, addressing new values in a growing consumer segment: more demand for sustainable destinations and cultural tourism, look for emotional satisfaction, educational activities, need for a personnalized approach .. The services support transformation of government processes through a public-private partnership which will add significant value to tourists because eTourists seek qualification, hierarchisation, selection, prescription, quality of the presentation of the information, translation ; tourist offices have the mission to be exhaustive and objective ( and have the volume of content to do so), and don’t necessarily have the qualification in terms of presentation on new media. They also are limited in developing visibility on a large scale ; EU Latitude provides the missing link to interact efficiently and effectively with tourists, using tourist offices’ contents and transforming it into high quality and selective online information and services targeting European tourists.
1. Benefits of EU Latitude for an endogenous tourism development
The tourism « market » is characterized by an incredible divers and complex offer; complex from the outside and competing among themselves inside. There are many economic and tourist actors and they are fragmented, even if EU member states claim that they are more or less centralized.
Their visibility is difficult and depends on their budget, their popularity and their attractions. Nevertheless the development of the tourist economy is a broadly shared goal in the European Union, as well on a European level, especially within the strategic orientations of the structural Funds for the least developed regions (so called cohesion – former objective 1), as on a national or local level, where tourism seems to be the cash cow for the development for any territory with economic difficulties (particularly if confronted with permanent natural handicaps : Islands, less populated areas and mountains).
This diversity, sometimes seen as an obstacle to marketing, when there is no innovation process, is indeed a source of market differentiation, if based on creation and innovation. Thus the territorial specificities, though hampering a stereotype marketing or a very generalized use of marketing techniques, can induce attraction to the territory in a sustainable way.
So, while claiming relatively standardized service quality, European tourists also insist on a real differentiation of the tourist offer and, more urban and globalised than ever before, look for a certain authenticity: For some partially a dream, for others partially an adventure, for many a certain well-being.
As a result EU-Latitude can offer, a part from technological development, a tool for « sustainable territorial marketing ». Still the offer, that it is supposed to disseminate, has to be based on real and tangible territorial elements. These geographic, natural, man made, human, cultural or heritage elements have to be durable for being « authentic » and in order to « seduce » the tourists from the marketing world, where they exist the rest of the year.
A landscape or a building described by a guide, a local legend told by a story teller, symbolic and historic elements chosen by emblematic personalities that succeed to convey the location and the people, the discovery of the taste or the knowledge of a farmer or an artist, the balance between stories and history, depicting a style or an event– all these are occasions to market the territory in its diversity and in its difference in order to activate its potential in a better way.
These new multimedia communication tools offer in fact an opportunity to include a very large number and a large variety of local actors in a local tourist development project, and by this increasing its sustainability.
An approach, confirmed by the editorial success of the Latitude guides, thus gives the opportunity to the actors to consecrate themselves to their town, their mountains, their coast for attracting more tourists in a sustainable way.
Based on real elements of endogenous capabilities, the EU Latitude approach is sustainable, as it is based what the territory consists of, even if sometimes neglected or forgotten and thus enables to make use of a local resource without harm to the social, environmental or economic pattern; instead of imposing activities or traditions from outside the local context, that have only been chosen for short term economic reasons, the objective is to rely on what has formed the local economy, environment and social links of the generations of women and men connected to the territory.
2. Promotion towards Tourist Authorities
Tourist Authorities are in the center of the activities for the EU latitude project. Their interaction with the publishers is the project core activity. They order content and content adaptation activities from the publishers, supply and update the data base and define the scope of the publisher’s promotional activities.
According to the market situation, it is also possible, that publishers and content distributors in search of marketable e-content, use the platform in order to approach tourist authorities.
In any case the market situation is very specific according to the publishers or content providers business model, to the international market penetration of the tourist authorities and the level of intervention. Thus the interaction between publishers and tourist authorities is supposed to be utmost flexible and goal orientated.
After the “laboratory” situation of the project, the workshop is meant to implement the project results in the market situation. It is the cutting edge between the final point of the project work, taking the peer review results into account and at the same time opening a business orientated phase with the possibility of adaptations.
3. Partners of the e-TEN project “EU-Latitude”
Technical Partners and promotion:
AEM Association Européenne des Elus de la Montagne
Empirica Gesellschaft fuer Kommunikations- und Technologieforschung mbH
contact : Christoph MAIER