The UNESCO Chair Culture, Tourism, Development held its 8th seminar on “Tourism and Information Technology in the Unesco World Heritage Sites”. Gaël Chareyron participated in a round table on Webanalytics and Big Data.
Gaël Chareyron is head of the Computer Science, Big Data and Connected Objects major at ESILV. He is also a member of EIREST, a Panthéon Sorbonne University research group on tourism. Over the last years, his areas of research have focused on the links between Big Data and tourism. In the last decade, tourists have been leaving voluntary trails on social networks such as TripAdvisor, Flickr, etc. The collecting and analysis of these vast amounts of data, be they comments, reviews, check-ins or photos analysis of touristic, enable Gaël Chareyron to define new practices of tourists: circulations, communities and ways of sharing their travel experiences.
UNESCO and World Heritage sites
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations located in Paris. Its aim is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information”. The World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme participates in this objective.
UNESCO is widely known for selecting World Heritage sites; landmarks or areas with a high cultural, historical or scientific significance. The sites are legally protected by international treaties and judged important to the interests of humanity.
The list features among many others the Mont Saint-Michel, the Malian city of Timbuktu or the Kilimanjaro National Park in Kenya. World Heritage sites are more likely to become highly touristic places, UNESCO is thus constantly working on protecting the latter through sustainable development, while ensuring visitors the best experience.
Improving tourism thanks to Big Data
The latest seminar organized by the UNESCO Chair Culture, Tourism, Development explored the ways Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can enrich visitor experiences at World Heritage sites throughout the travel cycle, i.e before, during, and after. The second section of the seminar revolved around webanalytics and Big Data.
“Webanalytics and Big Data have become a key resource for obtaining visitor information of WH sites, through the analysis of large volumes of data from diverse sources such as logfiles, social networks, mobile devices, apps, official databases, etc. This kind of data analysis focuses on real user actions rather than surveys, opening many possibilities for cultural tourism, which can improve its services, management and decision-making processes”.
Gaël Chareyron and his colleagues exchanged views on themes related to Big Data and tourism in World Heritage sites: crawling and analysis of data, the most useful data, the limits of privacy, how Big Data can give precious insight on tourist experiences and how it can improve them, to only name but a few.
Computer Science, Big Data and Connected Objects major
This 4th and 5th year major trains general computer engineers who are able to master all data processing components. To answer the evolution of the company’s strategic needs, the future engineer will be trained to information systems, to the architecture of databases, to the mobility and the application development.