“Internet is the Future of Tourism”, says Mr. Simonski, director of eCommerceAcademy
“It is a possibility, but also a threat if ignored“, says Mr. Krasimir Simonski, Director of www.eCommerceAcademy.net , and organizer of the conference “Tendencies and Innovations in Tourist Business“
What are the tendencies in the development of the tourist business?
I am glad that we have managed to outline the tendencies in the development of the information technologies and the Internet in the tourist business during the conference of www.eCommerceAcademy.net. These are also the tendencies in the development of tourism in our country in the forthcoming years. We have good tourist product and conditions, and all we have to do is to show it to the potential tourists in the best way possible in order to enter competitive markets at a global level. This may happen only with the help of the modern Internet technologies, mostly for the purpose of marketing our tourist product. Internet will keep having the biggest influence on the development of tourism, and if we success in mastering these technologies on time, then we will still have the opportunity of being competitive on the tourist market. In view of the above, the competition is pushed in the background, and everyone being inadequate to the situation will have to either vanish from the market, or remain satisfied with its leavings. In my opinion the market is impoverished enough to realize that it cannot keep the search for tourist in the old way. Without entering the Internet, there will be no way for our product to become visible. That was the reason why we agreed on the forum www.eCommerceAcademy.net that believing that somebody will just come by himself, that he will like it and will tell others that will eventually come as well is an old approach and very time consuming to lead to results. We need to realize that competition have become on a global level – with Thailand, China, Africa, and the other European countries. Internet and namely realizing it as an opportunity for development will outline the restructuring on the tourist market in the forthcoming years.
How will the new Internet technologies change this field? Does the tourist agent actually face death?
Hard times are coming for those that cannot adapt themselves to the new Internet-dominated competition environment. Tourist agents will hardly vanish, which corresponds to the position of the participants in the discussion at www.eCommerceAcademy.net, but they will become agents of new type, who add to the product value by its virtualization on the Internet, but not only being intermediaries between the tourist and the hotels, and/or the airlines. Internet will also result in the vanishing of scoundrels promising wonderful experience until the moment it turns out that the hotel does not even exist. Thanks to the rating system built and developing on the Internet, it will become much more difficult to lie, for the maximum number of deceived people will be not more than one. Furthermore, in case of no rating, even the first one would be extremely careful.
What is the extent of use of vanguard technologies inBulgaria? How does the online tourist business develop?
The use of the Internet in Bulgaria is at a comparatively good level of development, but it is still used only for search of information. Internet is still far from becoming the serious business environment that will speed up the business processes in the country. Internet transactions are almost always repeated or confirmed in the standard way as well. The same is also valid when it comes to the field of travels. We have almost no completed online entirely on the Internet, which is connected with the still low level of trust in the global network. In the field of cyber security, we still owe users, and the turning point in this specific field will be a very strong stimulus for the tourist industry. However, almost all travel agencies use the Internet for bookings, and the percentage of hotels available online keeps increasing. The development of these processes is still slow and we do hope that the conference has succeeded in convincing a great part of the business and the government that we need to develop in this direction. However, we are still far from the critical mass necessary for turning this process into a stable factor.
How can new technologies heal this business in Bulgaria?
They can convince tourists of the fact that Bulgaria is the place where they will spend great time and will have the chance to enjoy beautiful nature and incredible history. For this purpose we need to learn to use the language of computers and the Internet. This is the only way we may attract tourists, for they already hardly believe foldouts and brochures. They want to experience the travel virtually before experiencing it in real. This is the way of creating certain expectation in tourists, which we must satisfy later, of course.
What would You advice the people from the tourist business in order to be successful in the new environment? Which are the basics to conform to or to change?
It is too late to advice them to come to our conference, which has been already closed. But we will do our best to repeat its success probably in the spring, and meanwhile we may start holding mini conferences at specific locations. I do hope to rouse interest. On the other hand, we have established a good base and persuasion for the search of Internet solutions for tourism development. I do hope not to lose the initiative and things to return to their former course of evolution development. It is about revolution and the one who may realize it may count on success. The business needs to keep a close watch on everything happening on a global scale, but only in Bulgaria or their region. Internet is marked by extremely dynamic development and will continue to surprise us all with new solutions and mostly with opportunities. This is not a treat, but a possibility, but it is definitely a treat if ignored.
The seminar also includes an ecology topic. How is it related to the contemporary tourist business?
There is an increase in the number of eco destinations and this is a contemporary tourist tendency. People feel guilty of destroying the surrounding nature and that’s why they are glad to choose eco sites, even if they are more expensive.
It is now modern to be “eco”. It really does sound “trendy”. This must be used, especially in case of a country with poorly developed industry and an increasing number of pollutants. This tendency will keep increasing as evident from the panel discussion of this topic at www.eCommerceAcademy.net with participants – representatives of the European Commission as well, as these are also the expectations of our European partners.