Urban Smart Tourism Development Model Based on Marketing Ecosystem the Case Study of Tabriz City

Document Type : Article extracted From phd dissertation


1 Department of Business Management, Faculty of Social Science, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

2 Department of Management, Faculty of Economic and Management, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran


his study aims to identify the effective factors and provide a model for the development of urban smart tourism in Tabriz city with a marketing ecosystem approach. The qualitative approach with the content analysis method was used in this regard. The field method with the in-depth interview technique was used to collect the required data while studying the library resources. The interviews continued until theoretical saturation was reached. In total, 16 experts in this field were interviewed by snowball sampling. MAXQDA software was used for content analysis. The findings of the research indicate that 33 subthemes in the form of five main themes include marketplace (global developments in the tourism market, public relations, promotion, etc.), technology (developments in the field of technology, upgrading purchasing systems, dynamic response systems, etc.), socio-economic (smart financial transfer, financial transparency, acceptance of innovation, etc.), geopolitics (strengthening Iran's tourism competitors, etc.), and environmental (smart management of resources, environmental crises, sustainability, etc.), form the model of urban smart tourism development in Tabriz. This research showed that the development of smart urban tourism at the international level has a higher complexity than domestic tourism. Managers of urban destinations can benefit from the results of this research, including the use of fifth-generation tourism, infrastructure development, increasing government support, developing smart projects, benchmarking and more cooperation with the world's leading smart cities and increasing the participation of local people to advance their development goals
Extended abstract
In the past few decades, the development of information and communication technology (ICT) has introduced new technologies such as the Internet, social media, NFC, augmented reality, and pervasive computing technology. Such technologies change our daily lives because they play an important role in urban development, such as resource use, economy and sustainable development. Recently, technologies such as cloud computing Internet of Things and their application to complex logistics problems in cities have launched a "new" concept in the public, private and academic sectors alike under the title of intelligence. A smart city also focuses on social and cultural life and may increase urban social interactions. Since tourism has a lot to do with cultural phenomena, the concept of "intelligence" has been adapted to the context of tourism. Emerging technologies affect tourism destinations and create new challenges due to consumer and environmental changes. Using technology in a destination can enrich tourists' experiences, increase the destination's competitiveness, enable new distribution channels, and create a new business environment.
In addition to the research that has been strengthened by the revolution of the latest generation of information and communication technologies, smart tourism has gained more momentum and has quickly become a leading trend in the research literature; it has also penetrated into governments and the field of business and by trying to develop smart devices, services and tourist destinations have been included. So many of the world's leading cities have continuously put their smart city development and smart plans on the agenda to become world-class smart tourism destinations. Beyond the attitude that exists on the smartness of urban tourism destinations from the point of view of competitiveness and other market elements, global marketing researchers have paid attention to macro variables and other related and dynamic super trends from the "outside-in" perspective, which they call the marketing ecosystem. The marketing ecosystem approach contributes to marketing theory and practices through a structured and external perspective focused on better understanding the evolving consumers (tourists). In Iran and Tabriz, this attention to the smart city and urban smart tourism has been noticed at macro levels. Therefore, while paying attention to the importance of this field, this study will examine a set of factors affecting the development of urban smart tourism according to Tabriz with the marketing ecosystem approach and provide a clear model for the managers and policymakers.
In the current research, qualitative methods and content analysis were used. To conduct the research, data collection was done through in-depth interviews with key participants of the smart tourism industry in Tabriz. In this research, after conducting 16 interviews, the data collection process was completed. Purposeful sampling and the snowball method were used to select experts. The interviews were conducted in October, November and December 2022. Each in-depth interview lasted about 20 to 65 minutes. A semi-structured questionnaire was prepared to guide the interviews. After completing each interview, the researchers tried to listen to the audio file carefully. After converting it to text, the content of the interview text was checked by content analysis method and using MAXQDA version 2018 software. Therefore, the primary concepts were first identified by carefully studying these texts, and a code was assigned to each. In the continuation of the process, the primary concepts were classified in the form of sub-themes. Finally, based on all the identified sub-themes, a more general classification was done, and thus, the main themes were identified.
Results and discussion
The results of the research findings in the area of marketplace show the challenges of the smart urban tourism marketing ecosystem in nine sub-themes, including global tourism market developments, destination personality, market approach, promotion, public relations, weakness in government structure, weakness in policy-making, administrative bureaucracy and government support. The research findings in the technology sector show that we are facing six sub-themes as global technological developments, upgrading of online and smart shopping systems, more accessible information sources, dynamic handling and response systems, and internal challenges related to technology and public-service infrastructure. Based on the thematic analysis results, the socio-economic sector also includes eight major challenges for the urban smart tourism marketing ecosystem, including finance, financial transparency, macroeconomic indicators, financial resource limitations, adoption of innovation, migration and tourism culture. Also, in the following, the results of the topic analysis for the geopolitical category are given, which include the five sub-themes of the disappearance of the traditional borders of countries due to the development of fifth-generation tourism, the strengthening of Iran's tourism competitors in the northwest (Turkey) and the Persian Gulf countries, international challenges, political stability and it includes domestic geopolitics and the ideology of the rulers. Finally, the results of data analysis in the field of environment show that we are faced with five sub-themes as lack of intelligent management of resources, environmental crises, global protocols, green approach and sustainable development.
This study attempted to identify and investigate the effective factors in the development of smart urban tourism in Tabriz with a marketing ecosystem approach. The research findings extracted broad indicators in five dimensions of the marketing ecosystem model, including marketplace, technology, socio-economic, geopolitical, and environmental. The research findings were compared with other domestic and foreign studies. Finally, research limitations and proposed plans for future studies were presented after presenting practical suggestions.
There is no funding support.
Authors’ Contribution
The authors contributed equally to the conceptualization and writing of the article. All of the authors approved the content of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
The Authors declared no conflict of interest.
The authors appreciate to all the scientific consultants of this paper.


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