Digital tourism, the results of the DESy project

The Interreg DESy project, an acronym for Digital Destination Evolution System, in which the USI Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication and the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence IDSIA USI-SUPSI also participated, has concluded. The project was launched in 2019 by Ticino Turismo and Distretto Turistico dei Laghi, and the results were presented on 29 March at a press conference hosted by Università della Svizzera italiana. 

The DESy project represented a significant step towards the digital transformation of tourism throughout the region, benefiting professionals and visitors. Thanks to an extensive database on the tourism market of the entire Regio Insubrica, it was possible to develop a marketing automation platform with customised communications in form and content and three new digital services: the " Itinerari da ascoltare " podcast, a digital Welcome Kit and the Experience Finder digital assistant. In addition, in collaboration with IDSIA USI-SUPSI, in-depth data analysis was carried out by dividing tourists into various groups, e.g. according to interests, and developing models to predict overnight stays and visits to attractions, which is very useful information for adapting marketing campaigns. The correlation between unfavourable weather forecasts and booking cancellations was also evaluated. 

Professor Lorenzo Cantoni , Deputy Rector and Director of the UNESCO Chair and Master in International Tourism, emphasised how this project fits into the university’s three missions: research, in this case, applied, also looking at an international dimension; education, presenting this project on how to rethink the tourism of the future to students; and service to the territory. "The project results were shared with the international scientific community interested in eTourism, Smart Tourism and personalisation in tourism communication. What makes this project particularly interesting is that data collection is only a starting point: with innovative research methods and tools, these data were analysed to propose solutions that aim to help both tourist facilities and tourists themselves".