Friesland: towards a SMART tourism destination with DATAfryslan and Tourism Alliance Friesland

Tourism and recreation destinations are more and more focusing on data to improve their service quality and strategic development, as data allows making better-informed choices. Many challenges arise due to various demands for data, a diversity of approaches to gather data, the new technologies that emerge, the science of big data and the need to take into account privacy and ethics. This month, two important steps towards the Dutch province of Friesland becoming a smart tourism destination are taken.

Data collection and analysis for the leisure & tourism industry

First, we will finish our study on what are the next steps in terms of data collection and analysis for the leisure & tourism industry. We’ve talked to many stakeholders from the province of Friesland ranging from entrepreneurs, organisations to a governmental institution and to experts outside of Friesland that professionally deal with developing smart cities and enhancing monitoring and data collection for tourism destinations. The study is commissioned by the Tourism Alliance Friesland (TAF) and the results will be used particularly in provincial programs to enhance data-driven ways of working at the level of businesses, sectors and regions. Moreover, the results provide the initiative DataFryslân with a flying start.

The second step towards a smart tourism destination

DataFryslân, the second step towards a smart tourism destination, has been launched on February 12. DataFryslân is a joint-initiative of the province of Friesland, the municipalities of Leeuwarden, Sudwest and Smallingerlân, the Fries Sociaal Planbureau, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (including European Tourism Futures Institute) and the University of Groningen (Campus Fryslan and Center for Information Technology).

The data hub, data lab & data podium

DataFryslân aims to be a data hub, a data lab and a data podium in order to raise awareness about data science and disseminate the results amongst stakeholders. As it is set for this moment, DataFryslân will focus on the fields on tourism and recreation and on the field of the social domain. Already during the preparation for the launch of DataFryslân various partner organisations joined forces and produced results, making use of a mix of telephone data of Mezuro (Vodafone), website analytics, transportation data.

More will follow soon when DataFryslân is launched and fully functional and when the province of Friesland will follow-up on its recently approved position paper regarding developing the leisure & tourism industry.