Course on Planning and Management of Smart Tourism Destinations

Learn to direct, manage and plan smart destinations
Course on Planning and Management of Smart Tourism Destinations
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Course on Planning and Management of Smart Tourism Destinations

UNWTO Affiliate Member

The Course on Planning and Management of Smart Tourism Destinations (STD) is aimed at offering specific and applied training for managers and heads of tourist destinations, professionals of companies with interests in the tourism and technology sector, consultants and researchers around the Smart Tourism Destinations (STD) as a new approach to management and planning of tourism areas.

This new paradigm is characterized by the important role that new technologies and management based on big data play in it. STD are a more efficient, sustainable and resilient model, capable of better managing in the digital and uncertain future that mark issues such as economic and health crises and the effects of climate change.

The students of the STD expert course will learn to direct, manage and plan destinations (municipalities, associations, islands) in accordance with the principles of smart destinations, the methodologies that are being applied (indicators, diagnoses) and the programs and lines of existing public support in Spain and the rest of Europe. Specifically, it will delve into the methodology implemented by SEGITTUR in the Spanish context, and how to adapt destinations to the requirements of this body..

Course Program 10 ECTS

MODULE 1 The transformation of the tourism landscape: trends and challenges 1 ECTS credit

Tourism as an information-intensive sector was one of the first sectors in which companies were digitized globally. The last decades are characterized by profound technological changes (technologies such as the Internet of Things, geolocation, artificial intelligence, augmented and mixed virtual reality, blockchain technology, big data) that have given rise to new different modes of travel with a digital tourist that is more autonomous, hyper-connected and increasingly demanding.

This has entailed the need to change production processes and adopt them to digital change. This transformation has also generated changes in the value proposals and the incorporation of new participants in the value chain of the tourism sector.

This module presents the main trends and challenges facing the tourism sector in the coming years.

  • 1. Digital transformation and enabling technologies
  • 2. Structure of the global tourism market and new business models

Module 2 Smart Tourism Destinations (STD): a new model for planning and managing destinations 1 ECTS credit

The social challenges that we face and the profound technological transformations require a new way of facing the planning and management of the tourism destination. A destination capable of innovating by implementing new systems that facilitate the analysis of multiple sources of information (Big Data, Business Intelligence) and allow them to be more efficient and competitive.

A comprehensive renovation is imposed on destinations that do not repeat or modify old patterns. The ultimate goal is for the destination to be sustainable in the long term economically, socio-culturally and environmentally. In this changing context, in which new proposals appear every day around the world, it is essential to reflect deeply on these new models.

The module is an introduction to the planning and management of the Smart Tourism Destination as an innovative tourism destination, consolidated on a cutting-edge technological infrastructure, which guarantees the sustainable development of the tourism territory, accessible to all, which facilitates the interaction and integration of the visitor with the environment and increases the quality of their experience in the destination, and improves the quality of life of the resident.

  • 1. Tourism planning of tourist destinations (historical evolution and practical application)
  • 2. Tourism management models and types of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs)

Module 3 3 The pillars of STD: sustainability, governance and accessibility 2 ECTS credits

Este módulo está dedicado a entender algunos principios básicos que orientan la acción en materia de destinos inteligentes: La sostenibilidad y su interrelación con la aplicación de tecnologías de eficiencia y gestión; La gobernanza y su importancia en los procesos de planificación, así como su aplicación a partir de procesos de participación pública en el diseño de políticas; La accesibilidad y toda la normativa relacionada que es aplicable en destinos turísticos en cuestiones como urbanismo, acceso a la información y a los servicios turísticos.This module is dedicated to understanding some basic principles that guide action on smart destinations: Sustainability and its interrelation with the application of efficiency and management technologies; Governance and its importance in planning processes, as well as its application from public participation processes in policy design; Accessibility and all the related regulations that are applicable in tourism destinations in matters such as urban planning, access to information and tourist services.

  • 1. Sustainability in STD. Principles and good practices.
  • 2. Governance in STD. Good governance practices in tourist destinations.
  • 3. Accessibility in STD. Applicable regulations.

Module 4 Innovation and technology: keys in the planning and management of STD 2 ECTS credits

In this module, students will learn to identify, apply and evaluate innovative technological solutions (smart solutions) that STD have at their disposal to respond to different problems. Technologies and specific solutions will be put into context through the study of successful cases and references in the sector at a national and international level.

  • 1. Innovative solutions in STD
  • 1.1. Critical issues in STD
  • 1.2. Innovation: a new perspective on problem solving
  • 1.3. The innovation process
  • 1.4. Study of practical cases of innovation in destinations
  • 2. Technology as a tool for generating value in tourism destinations
  • 2.1. Technologies applicable to destination planning and management
  • 2.2. Good practices of technological application

Module 5 nPlanning Methodology in STD 2 ECTS credits

The fifth module is dedicated to the planning processes of intelligent destinations, specifically the diagnosis of the situation of destinations and analysis through indicator models. The preparation of plans and the monitoring of results will also be addressed, as well as the presentation of proposals and projects to public programs and lines of support for STD.

  • 1. Diagnostics of STD and indicator systems. ETIS Model (The European Tourism Indicators System, European Commission)
  • 2. Information management in destinations: platforms, big data, KPI
  • 3. Preparation of plans, monitoring and evaluation
  • 4. Standardization processes and public programs to support STD

Module 6 Digital marketing 1 ECTS credit

This module is focused on studying the most advanced digital marketing formulas that a smart destination should have at its disposal. Social media management, data analytics, strategy design in different types of platforms and new trends in online marketing (influencer marketing, viral marketing, etc.) will be studied.

  • 1. Social Media Management
  • 2. ROI-oriented Web Analytics
  • 3. Customer acquisition and loyalty strategies
  • 4. Emerging digital marketing formulas

Module 7 Crisis management in tourism destinations 1 ECTS credit

COVID-19 has had a strong impact on economic activity and society worldwide. The pandemic and crisis generated by COVID-19 has given relevance to having skills in crisis management. Any tourism destination is exposed to the impact of a crisis of various kinds: economic, natural disaster, political or health crisis. Crises represent a turning point or change, a decisive and crucial moment with negative consequences, but also with some positive potential. Effective crisis management can even generate positive flows in tourism demand by employing appropriate planning and recovery strategies.

The module introduces different management models and tools that allow the generation of actions towards more resilient destinations.

  • 1. Fundamentals of risk
  • 2. Concepts in risk management: statistical models
  • 3. Risk analysis and decisions
  • 4. Sustainability environment and risk
  • 5. Reputational risk and crisis management. Case studies


Daniela Thiel Ellul Daniela Thiel Ellul Professor Francisco Femenia Serra Francisco Femenia Serra Professor Aurkene Alzua Sorzabal Aurkene Alzua Sorzabal Professor
Francisco Javier Navarro Meneses Francisco Javier Navarro Meneses Professor Leslie Bravo Chew Leslie Bravo Chew Professor

Featured Speakers

Enrique Martínez Marín Enrique Martínez MarínPresident of SEGITTUR David Giner Dr David Giner SánchezInvattur project coordinator and associate professor of the Department of Regional Geographic Analysis and Physical Geography at the University of Alicante Josep Ivars Dr Josep Ivars BaidalProfessor of the Department of Regional Geographic Analysis and Physical Geography at the University of Alicante Íñigo Valenzuela Íñigo Valenzuela CossíoCEO & Founder – SMARTVEL Juan Daniel Núñez Juan Daniel NúñezEditor at SmartTravelNews
Carlos Romero Dexeus Carlos Romero DexeusDirector of Tourism Research, Development and Innovation at SEGITTUR Ana Clara Rucci Ana Clara RucciEAccessibility expert in STD
Researcher at the Tourism Research Institute, School of Economic Sciences of the National University of La Plata (Argentina).
Ainhoa Raso Canals Ainhoa Raso CanalsVP of Innovation and New Developments. TDDS NB Natalia Bayona Director of Innovation, Education and Investments. UNWTO

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