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JPIURBAN-Urban Europe

Implementing energy efficient and social urban tourism solutions and creating citizen empowerment through Smart City Hospitality

Awarded: NOK 2.8 mill.

Serious gaming promoting sustainable urban tourism The project Smart City Hospitality (SCITHOS) was among the first large scale European projects to focus on managing the potential negative impacts of tourism pressure that have gained much attention in recent years (e.g. overcrowding, AirBnB) and are increasingly described using the term ?overtourism?. The project found that many ?overtourism? issues are at least partially caused by developments outside the tourism industry, as opposed to being tourism-only problems. To successfully manage urban tourism development, there is therefore an urgent need for cooperation between stakeholders from within and outside tourism, including residents. This is necessary to tackle urgent challenges such as climate change, visitor pressure, commodification and decreasing liveability. Urban tourism planning requires needs a more holistic approach, and if we are to come to long-term innovative solutions, it is key to also incorporate stakeholders from outside of tourism. The Smart City Hospitality project has sought to contribute to making this happen, both through academic and practitioner perspectives. The project focused its attention to the principle of smart citizenship ? allowing residents to engage with the future of urban tourism planning. Given that tourism is an industry that thrives on social relations and hospitality, this is as important as smart digital tools that are often seen as key for solving tourism problems. The outcomes of the project include publications, presentations as well as a set of tools an actor-based and system dynamics model and apps that that can be used to help cities and region develop tourism in a more sustainable way. One of the highlights of the project is the development of the SCITHOS Serious Game Challenge, a serious game in form of a boardgame with a digital component, that enables stakeholders to engage in deep meaningful discussions about the complexity of urban tourism planning processes. The aim of the game was to enhance the collaborative capacity of players in a safe and explorative manner. By role-playing real-life decisions, players are invited to jointly develop scenarios by proposing policy decisions. Consequently, potential outcomes of the decisions are calculated by a digital model and dynamically displayed on a dashboard. Learnings of the game are translated into real-life situations and reflected upon in a moderated debriefing. Results of the play sessions in the six cities have been very positive, with the game being assessed as highly educational, yet fun to play and providing possibilities to meet with others, previously unknown city stakeholders. With the continuing rise of tourism numbers, it is key that new innovative ways to plan tourism are given attention. The Smart City Hospitality has highlighted the complexity of the urban tourism and the need to maintain a dialogue with a wide variety of stakeholders. The Smart City Hospitality team will further the development the SCITHOS serious game and other tools to enable this and help tourism development in cities and regions be more sustainable. The SCITHOS project brought together the research institutes Breda University of Applied Sciences, MODUL University Vienna, Western Norway Research Institute, the Centre of Expertise Leisure Tourism and Hospitality (CELTH), industry partner Worldline Spain, as well as representatives of the cities of Amsterdam, Belgrade, Darmstadt, Gothenburg, Stavanger and Valencia. The project has among other things been responsible for a special issue of Sustainability on sustainable urban tourism, see here for the collection of papers: More information about the project: and the Norwegian part of the project:

Representantene fra byene som deltok i utvikling og utprøving av spillet har rapportert stor læringseffekt omkring utfordringene å utvikle byturisme i mer bærekraftig retning. Dette er dokumentert gjennom spørreundersøkelser og vitenskapelig publisering av resultatene fra spørreundersøkelsen.

Urban tourism contributes to (local) economic prosperity, 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. This project introduces the Smart City Hospitality concept, consisting of guidelines and tools, that can support cities to make the transition towards environmentally and socially responsible tourism that simultaneously contributes to long-term (economic) prosperity. Through combining hospitality principles, simulation tools, apps and serious gaming techniques, this concept supports policymakers in generating deep reflections about barriers to sustainable urban tourism and the need for transition or adaptation strategies. It supports assessment of intervention strategies based on an interactive simulation-supported multi-stakeholder approach that triggers social learning and behaviour change, while stimulating shared governance and smart citizenship. This project develops, tests, validates and refines these guidelines/ tools and the full concept through a series of living labs and field experiments in participating cities. What is more, a Smart City Hospitality network is set up and installed to ensure accessibility to this concept, including all tools and experiences with using them, for other cities and to facilitate collaborative learning within a continuous process of refining this customizable approach.

Funding scheme:

JPIURBAN-Urban Europe