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#OPENTOURISM - Supporting Digital Creativity in Tourism

By Raf Buyle on Feb 09, 2016


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What if…

...the tourist experience is more diverse than ever, covering a spectrum that goes from the family looking for a nice hotel with guided tours, to a backpacker who travels alone and surfs somebody's couch.

However, there is one factor that is common across all kinds of tourists: the need for digital services to get information, plan trips, reserve accommodations, get in touch with other tourists, consult maps to visit places, rate restaurants or share experiences. Imagine we could use the same services in different places around the world without the need for searching new service providers or new apps every time we visit a different place or city.

What is

A lot of projects fail because the underlying systems and databases are too difficult to connect or because it is too costly to do. Data are often locked in isolated silos, that can't be reused outside an existing website or mobile app.

What could be

Linked Open Data aims to connect these solitary pieces of information to other data sources on the web. If each data is linked, we can jump from link to link to retrieve and discover new knowledge: suggesting interesting attractions, thematic walks, or other nearby services.

A new initiative!

There are already good initiatives focusing on reusable apps and data. But we need more Open Data and a common language for machine readable touristic information. Therefore we've joined forces in a new working group which supports digital creativity concerning tourism and host an “Open Standard for Tourism” Vocabulary, which is a reusable Ontology for describing tourism data.

“In the touristic data-landscape openness is not the issue: the essence of the industry runs on its data being available to an audience as big as possible. In such an environment of multiple sources happily sharing their own part and version of the truth, unfortunately, the issue then is to understand all of it in a coherent way. This first iteration of the semantic touristic vocabulary is rightfully something that deserves the international attention of the touristic community. ” - Marc Portier, ICT Manager Westtoer

Status of This Initiative

After the development is completed and stable, the Open Belgium Tourism Working Group which is part of Open Knowledge Belgium will keep the specifications and serializations on-line. A GitHub is set-up for version and release management, and issue reporting. The next Open Tourism community gathering will be on Saturday the 5th of March 2016 from 9:30 - 11:30 during the ‘More with Tourism’ hackathon in Mechelen.

Open Belgium 2016

In our workshop we will share and discuss the ‘Open Standard for Tourism Ecosystems Data’ and tools for aggregating existing data and mapping it to the tourism vocabulary, which has been tested with local data in the region of West-Flanders. We’ll make sure to leave some time for questions from the audience as well. Hope to see you there!

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written by Raf Buyle
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