On 20 November, the 2017 edition of the NRIT Trend Report Tourism, Recreation and Leisure was presented in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Trend Report presents all trends and developments in these sectors, and it is seen as the standard year book in the leisure sector in The Netherlands.
In this year’s Trend Report, there is also a place for the Smart City Hospitality (SCITHOS) research project. SCITHOS is a three-year European funded research project in which researchers from three academies (AHFM, ADE, and AfT) work together with researchers from Norway and Austria, plus a technological partner in Spain. The aim of SCITHOS is to aid policy makers to get to grips with sustainability in the development of urban tourism.
Hans Westerbeek presented the most important ideas and preliminary results of the SCITHOS project. The audience consisted of policy makers, destination marketers, provinces and other tourism and leisure professionals.
Another event, which took place last week and where a small delegation of the SCITHOS team participated, was the European Cities Marketing Conference on DistURBANce in travel. From the 31st May to the 2nd June, European city managers met to discuss and hear about the future DMOs (new ECM Manifesto), the possibilities of collaborative economies (by Dianne Dredge) and technological developments in tourism. During these days we listened to inspiring presentations about the challenges in city marketing such as over tourism, safety and security and economic disruptions in tourism.
Among destination managers and researchers it was agreed that as urban tourism grows, classical DMOs have to expand their role to destination development management and marketing organisations (DDMMOs, according to TOPOSOPHY) to tackle future challenges with an holistic approach.
We have presented our SCITHOS project and the future serious and simulation game that will be developed in the upcoming year to address the above challenges and engage city stakeholders in deep discussion about transformation towards sustainable city hospitality. We enjoyed the conference and are looking forward to continue the fruitful conversations with city representatives and researchers.
Last week, we participated in the conference 'Engaging for impact: the next step in urban transition' on May 30, and the Project Meeting on May 31 -- both organised by JPI Urban Europe in La Tricoterie in Brussels. During these days, we engaged in inspiring conversations and discussions about urban transitions, and connected with other researchers and stakeholders in cities looking for 'the next step' in city innovation.
A particularly interesting part of the programme was a series of pitches, in which cities presented their trickiest challenge, after which researchers and city representatives sat together to discuss these challenges. We also explored possibilities to collaborate on some challenges in the future.
We thank JPI Urban Europe for this opportunity to be involved in the conversations, and we look forward possible new research opportunities for the future!
Jessika Weber (ADE) and Hans Westerbeek (AHFM), both researchers in the SCITHOS project, visited the 4th International City-Gaming Conference - Games for Cities in Rotterdam on April, 22nd 2017 to get inspiration for the next step in the research project. SCITHOS plans to develop a serious game to aid in decision making with respect to sustainable urban tourism.
For those, who have never heard about the event, Games for Cities is an annual conference that aims to create a platform for knowledge exchange on games that have the potential to facilitate more effective and inclusive city-making. Our visit to Games for Cities helped us to our sustainable tourism hospitality game and to see what other game designers and city planners are busy with.
But why shall we look into urbanism and gaming? According to the United Nations report (2014) 54 % of the world’s population was living in cities in 2014, however, the urban population is expected to continue to grow, so that by 2050, the world will be one third rural and two-thirds urban (66 %). This will bring new challenges for urban planning and policy making.
Thus, communities and citizen equally need to be included in city-making besides urban planners, policy makers, businesses and municipalities. We would like to point out 3 takeaways from the conference and share them with you:
Introducing people to difficult topics like sustainability
The means of serious games is that the players learn about a specific topic by playing a game. This implies, that serious games are not fun in the first place, but it does also not exclude the element of fun per se. In order to bridge delicate or less interesting topics, Fun is how theses games need to be approached - make them fun to play! However, fun is a term of different (mis)understandings. Letting the player decide what is fun for him/her and which aspect of the game to concentrate on is most important in game development.
Give citizens a voice and integrate them into city planning
Even by using games, people are used to having everything organised for them and awaiting for a top-down decision making process as the Amsterdam City Council reported from experience with their circular economy game. This shows that, even though people are playing a game, classical roles of “the citizen - awaiting for decisions” and “the major - leading decisions” are still written in our DNA. As explained by Eric Gordon in his keynote, the citizen as a player needs to be acquainted with the exploratory style of games, allowing him/her to fail and gaining player experiences. This involves getting used to uncertain outcomes, designing actions and start anew when the first attempt to civic participation failed.
Understanding games as means not the end
This connects to the latter point and requests to understand games as an activity which is more important than the outcome of gameplay (e.g. policy making). Gameplay is foremost done for it’s own sake. The SCITHOS game should also be understood as such: an intervention in which stakeholders come together to discuss their different perspectives on developing sustainable tourism policies in a playful environment.
The above takeaways inspired us to consider games for approaching complex topics, but on the other side make you also aware the games are not the only answer as there are still difficulties in implementing them. However, let them approach us with an open mind-set and a healthy portion of childlike curiosity.
The Smart City Hospitality Meeting held on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th of February in Vienna was another step towards the success of the project. On the first day the consortium members discussed the progress of the project so far, with all being pleased that the project is running exactly on schedule and first outcomes could be presented. The theoretical model, which serves as underpinning of the project, has been fruitfully discussed and consent towards a mutual understanding of the framework has been agreed upon. This supported the further clarification of the direction of SCITHOS for the following two work packages.
At the second day, representatives from Darmstadt, Stavanger and Valencia joined to hear about initial results of the preceded interviews in the participating cities during December and January. Further insights into the how tourism is being practiced and managed from the ground, but also best practices and real-life examples were shared between the practitioners and researchers. These insights were very much appreciated by all, as they will help ensure SCITHOS remains relevant to the participating cities.
Finally, mediated modelling was explained and it’s potential to assist in the project. The second day ended with the outlook of potential game’s best practices that will support stakeholder engagement and encourage collective creativity for sustainable urban environments.
All in all, the two days proved very useful, but also interesting and enjoyable for the participants. The next meeting is scheduled in Barcelona around November.
On Thursday, October 6, the organization of Sustainable Cities in the Netherlands organized their third annual conference in the Chassé theatre in Breda. Public servants, scientists and developers discussed ways to learn from experiments to make cities more hospitable and sustainable in the future.
Students of the minor Specialization Hospitality Innovation & Imagineering, a cooperation between NHTV University and Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences, were asked to design and execute social experiments during this conference and share the results with the audience at the end of the day. Their assignment was part of the ‘Smart City Hospitality’ project (SCITHOS) that NHTV leads and works together on with CELTH.
The students focused on researching ways in which people can be connected, and setting up experiments to do so:
One of the most exciting outcomes of the experiments was that the students managed to involve the conference visitors in these processes. In doing so, the students forded the visitors to reflect upon their own work. As concluded by the chair of the conference: The results as presented by the NHTV students gave the audience serious food for thought and, in this way, the event proved to be a successful combination of involving education in a real-world setting.
The SCITHOS project Kick-off held 19-20 was a resounding success. All consortium partners and cities were excited to come together to discuss how Smart City Hospitality can be used to make urban tourism more sustainable.
Consortium partners and cities engaged in a lively debate on what are the most important issues when trying to make city tourism more sustainable. Also, they looked ahead at potential solutions for these problems in a short workshop to identify what is most important to achieve sustainable urban tourism.
The knowledge sharing between cities and researchers will help to ensure SCITHOS can deliver innovative interventions strategies, based on real-life experiences, that can make a difference to making tourism more sustainable now, and in the future.
The Kick-off meeting of SCITHOS will take place on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 May.
The first day (Thursday) the consortium partners will get together, while on the second day (Friday) the cities will join to discuss the outline of the project and ensure a close connection to the needs and realities of the different cities.
The meeting will take place in Amsterdam.
SCITHOS: Smart City Hospitality will officially start on 1 May 2016. It is an exciting cooperation between:
Together with partner cities:
All partners are looking forward to getting started!
Urban tourism contributes to (local) economic development, but also creates negative consequences such as CO2-emissions and pollution, overcrowding, traffic jams, noise and touristification of the city, thereby harming liveability for both residents and tourists.
Smart City Hospitality takes an interdisciplinary perspective, whilst using hospitality principles, like hostmanship and host-guest relations, in combination with smart apps and tools and serious gaming techniques to use tourism to create a long-term liveable city.
SCITHOS develops Smart City Hospitality guidelines and tools for cities that could help them find solutions to achieve sustainable tourism and actively involve the public in doing so, with the aim to change city tourism into something that benefits tourists, residents and the environment.
SHITHOS is a collaboration between several research organisations, enterprise, and a number of European cities.