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Digital and effective – visitor flow management as a solution to rising tourist numbers

Overcrowded parking lots, cluttered hiking trails and protesting locals – more and more places that have for many years strived from tourism are becoming overwhelmed by the onslaught of travelers, and this has been occurring even before the days of Corona. The enormous coverage in the media shows that “over tourism”, with all its associated problems, is the dominant theme of modern tourism. These increasingly negative trends are forcing those responsible to look for the right strategies and solutions.

Visitor flow management – digital and effective!

The results of a 2019 study conducted by the Kempten University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the University of Passau, in which around 2,000 people from the Allgäu region were questioned, confirm this trend. Around 18 percent of Allgäu residents feel disturbed by holidaymakers. With every second person preferring not to have any additional guests within the region. Hartmut Wimmer (Founder & CEO of Outdooractive) states clearly:

„Effective visitor flow management is only possible on a digital basis, because once you’re there it’s already too late. Digitally, however, a guest can find out which areas are freely accessible and which are closed.”

Strategy: Linking the data

In order to be able to implement the solution strategies sustainably and holistically, networking is necessary – a sort of “Smart City” or “Smart Destination”. Outdooractive provides the data platform for this and enables interfaces between the destinations and the individual stakeholders. Instead of thinking in “silos”, it is more effective to make all information available to everyone in open data formats and thus entire regions can benefit.

Visitor flow data must be collected, analyzed and evaluated

Outdooractive offers data-based “Insights” for regions: extensive guest analysis based on community data of more than 9 million registered users and anonymously collected information. The aim is to make the holiday experience better and, above all, to enhance the local experience in a qualitative sense, while at the same time guaranteeing the satisfaction of guests and locals. Quantitatively, more and more regions are reaching their tolerance limits.

Effective distribution is the key

With the collected data of the Outdooractive platform, streams of visitors can be redirected digitally in real time and a consistently high level of guest information can be maintained. At the same time, recommendations can be used to provide them with alternatives. In order to put this into practice, Outdooractive is working daily on functions with which current information can be displayed digitally and thus improve visitor guidance.

Outdooractive provides direction

With the “notices and closures” feature on the Outdooractive platform, destinations and trail managers can communicate current changes or dangers quickly and easily. For example, many hiking areas were completely closed during the Corona lockdown.

The research project AIR, funded by the BMU within the framework of the KI-Leuchttürme (AI) program, currently has Outdooractive together with the NIT Institute investigating how an intelligent recommendation service could offer people sustainable alternatives to overcrowded attractions or leisure paths in the future, even early in the preparation and decision making phase. Due to the wide reach of the Outdooractive platform and the extensive range of information on destinations, tourist experiences and outdoor activities, we can already make a decisive contribution today to rectify tourist hot spots, overcrowding and the over tourism phenomena.
In order to, amongst others, simplify access to all relevant data for better visitor guidance, Outdooractive has been committed to Open Data in tourism for several years. In the research project funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, the BayernCloud for Tourism, Outdooractive is a co-initiator, with the goal being to provide an open data hub for tourism.

Digitization of regulations for the use of nature

In order to have better data for visitor guidance, Hartmut Wimmer, as founding member and chairman of the non-profit association “Digitize the Planet”, is actively campaigning for the digitization of laws, ordinances and regulations governing the use of nature. Based on structured data, apps can then, for example, show guests exactly what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do in a protected area.