Investigating the Challenges of Digital Tourism Development Case Study: Tehran City

Document Type : Article extracted From phd dissertation


1 PhD student in Social Communication Sciences, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Social Communication Sciences, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Professor Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
The tourism industry is one of the most dynamically developing sectors of the world economy and an important factor in the social and economic development of regions and countries and is a valuable source for wealth creation in cultural exchanges between countries and it has taken a significant share of the world economy. Meanwhile, information and communication technologies have played a great role in the prosperity of the tourism industry. The factors facilitating access to digital tourism have made it easier for customers to access the use of digital tourism; these factors including the optimal use of time, the ability to shop anywhere and anytime, and users' direct access to information and services. Nowadays, the necessity of using new digital technologies in various industries such as tourism has become so vital that the World Tourism Organization has announced 2018 as the year of digital transformation. Meanwhile, the city of Tehran as the capital of Iran due to the administrative-political centrality and the existence of more facilities and resources and countless tourist attractions in all types of historical, cultural, natural, ethnic and health, etc. is one of the most important destinations for domestic and foreign tourists. According to the diversity of tourist attractions and the number of tourists in the city, it can be said that the main problem is that the concept of digital tourism has not yet been given special attention to meet the needs of tourists, and so far, the importance of using information technologies in this field in Tehran has not been considered and the necessary infrastructure has not been defined for it. Therefore, the use of information and communication technologies in the tourism industry of Tehran seems inevitable, due to the intense competition between travel agencies and the promotion of tourism competitiveness with other countries in the region. In this study, while identifying the challenges that have had the greatest impact on the lack of promotion of digital tourism in Tehran, solutions have been provided in this field so that decision-makers of the tourism industry based on using them, can allocate available resources to solve challenges, and finally, formulate and implement an appropriate model for digital tourism development planning. Therefore, the most important questions that this research seeks to answer are as following:
-What are the most important challenges of digital tourism development?
-What is the significance and impact of the identified challenges on tourism development?
The present study is part of applied and descriptive survey researches in terms of purpose and strategy, respectively. Data were collected using a questionnaire. The statistical population of this research is divided into two categories. The first category includes experts and senior managers of the tourism industry and the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of the country, who were selected using the method of snowball sampling of 10 experts. The second group consisted of 60 employees and managers of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of the province. Samples were selected by simple random sampling without replacement. In order to perform the second-order factor analysis, the identified challenges from the opinions of a sample of 10 people were selected as the statistical population. After completing the questionnaires by these individuals, the reliability of the questionnaire was 0.812 and its standard deviation was equal to 0.12 which indicates the high reliability of the questionnaire.
 Results and discussion
Findings indicate that the main challenges include the weak economic system, the weak cultural structure, the weak infrastructure, among which the impact of infrastructure on digital tourism development with a coefficient of 0.803 has the highest score. After that, the effect of weak economic system on the development of digital tourism with a coefficient of 0.742 is in second place. The challenge of weak cultural structure with a coefficient of 0.653 affects digital tourism development.
The findings and results of this research can be divided into two general parts. The results of the first part of the study showed that the variables that were initially classified by experts are all the most important challenges of digital tourism development. In other words, the results of this section showed that infrastructure challenges and weakness in the economic system and weakness in the cultural structure are all challenges of digital tourism development, and among them, infrastructure challenges have the highest path coefficient. In fact, they are the most vital challenges and are the basis of the model, so for the development of digital tourism in Tehran, this factor should be considered as the first step to achieve the goal of this research by managers in this field. In the next place are economic challenges, and cultural and religious restrictions are in the third place. Paying more attention to these factors will facilitate the achievement and solution of the challenges of the next and higher levels.


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