New SMARTDEST publication: “Analysing the impact of short-term rentals”

By Russo, A.P., Valente, R. (2023).

Growth in the number of properties available for short term rent in European cities is having an impact on local residents.

Read the new SMARTDEST Publication on EU Research: ‘Analysing the impact of short-term rentals’. By Russo, A.P., Valente, R. (2023).

Link to the article: Link

New SMARTDEST publication: “A typology of tourism mobility apps”

By Amit Birenboim, Yael Bulis and Itzhak Omer  (2023).

Smartphones and mobile applications (apps) have become indispensable tools for travelers. Despite their pivotal role in the tourism industry and continuous advancements, our understanding of their usage and integration is limited. Adopting a bottom-up approach, we analyzed and characterized 347 tourism mobility apps, differentiating between globally-used apps and those that are developed and used locally in four renowned tourist destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Venice, and Dubrovnik. The central attributes that characterize these apps were revealed through factor analysis, including tourist-oriented functionality, orientation and navigation, efficacy, effective mobility, social (interaction), and activities. Four types of apps, namely mobility, navigation, interact and experience, and social media, were then grouped using k-means clustering. Our typology facilitates a better understanding of the tourism apps market and the apps’ added value. This topic is becoming increasingly important, considering the smartization processes that destinations are undergoing.

The article can be found at the following link



You can watch the video of the main contributions and download the final report of the 2-day event to find out SMARTDEST results, collective debate,  presentations from social, technological and policy innovators and the inspiring ideas emerged during the Ideathon!

Innovation Camp Technical report: link


Links to the videos of the SMARTDEST Innovation camp

Innovation Camp DAY1 – Workshop (Part 1)

Innovation Camp DAY1 – Workshop (Part 2)

Innovation Camp DAY1 – Workshop (Part 3)

Innovation Camp DAY1 – Workshop Highlights

Innovation Camp DAY2 – (Ideathon Introductory Session)

Innovation Camp DAY2 – Ideathon Highlights

France lays out strategy to combat ‘overtourism’

Faced with surging numbers of visitors to historic landmarks and natural treasures, France wants to put a lid on the tourist crowds that flood in each year — though officials recognise it won’t be easy.

Unpacking France’s strategic approach to combat overtourism: A testament to the quest for sustainable tourism. As France, one of the world’s most visited countries, lays out its roadmap to balance tourism and conservation, it raises significant questions about the future of tourism globally. This pivot towards mindful travel has implications on local economies, ecosystems, and cultural preservation. Let’s dive into the details and rethink tourism in the era of sustainability. 

The article can be found at the following link


Which cities and countries are cracking down on Airbnb-style rentals?

Italy is considering new nationwide regulations while Penang in Malaysia recently introduced a ban.

This Euronews article presents the policies that some countries are adopting on Airbnb-style rentals.

Analysing the shifting tides of the shared economy: How are cities and countries like Italy, Malaysia, and the USA recalibrating their regulatory approach towards Airbnb-style rentals? This intricate interplay between local communities, governments, and the tourism industry impacts socio-economic landscapes, residential markets, and even cultural preservation. Join me as we delve into this compelling discourse.

How will the future of urban living and tourism be reshaped?


SAVE THE DATE for the SMARTDEST Final Conference 15 and 16 of September 2023!

The SMARTDEST project team is glad to announce the Final Project event, that will take place in Barcelona on the 15 and 16 of September 2023.

This will be an opportunity to present and discuss the main project findings and results, together with other external academics, stakeholders, policy makers and concerned citizens and civic entities.

The first day will host a scientific seminar, organised in three paper presentations sessions and bookended by a keynote lecture and a final conversation with consortium partners and invited experts on “Linking local sustainability transitions and global challenges”.

The second day is organised as a public event meant to transfer the project insights to communities of concern, involving a policy round table, an exhibition of project outcomes and other informal opportunities of engagement with social and policy entities from the European to the local level. Participants to the scientific seminar are welcome to participate.

The full agenda can be downloaded at the following link: Final conference Agenda

Attendance to the first day’s academic seminar requires registration given the limited capacity of the venues. Please use the following registration forms to register:

Register to the 1st day

Register to the 2nd day

SMARTDEST Innovation Camp in Venice concluded successfully last weekend!

SerenDPT, which hosted the event, would like to thank all those who made this event possible and those who participated in it. Thank you all for the interesting insights, inspiring speeches and for the enthusiasm you have shown.

Congratulations to the Data democracy and community empowerment Team who won the Ideathon! Tackling the disconnection between locals and tourism destination management, they proposed a platform that follows DAO principles and gives locals a sense of ownership and decision making power over public money.

The report of the activities and the video recordings of all sessions will be available soon on this website.


SMARTDEST Innovation Camp in Venice (Italy) – 6 and 7 of July 2023.

Redesigning the relationship between tourism and urban space: this is the theme of the SMARTDEST Innovation Camp which will take place in the city of Venice (Italy) on the 6th and 7th of July 2023.

The event will be hosted by SerenDPT, a Venetian benefit company and project partner, at its headquarters inside the former church of SS Cosma e Damiano, on Giudecca island.

The first day will bring together experts from all over Europe: leading academics, policy makers, agents and innovation networks. Stimulated by the results that emerged during the SMARTDEST project research in 7 different cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Jerusalem, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Turin and Venice, they will be called to discuss the social challenges produced by tourist flows in urban contexts.

They will seek to understand whether narratives of degrowth and socio-spatial equity are compatible with tourism destination management that is exclusively rooted in economic development and how we can develop collective responses to manage and possibly reverse the negative impacts of tourism. All this in a city, Venice, which for years has been a mirror and world showcase of this conflict.

Antonio Paolo Russo, Professor of Urban Geography at the Rovira i Virgili University of Tarragona in Spain and Coordinator of the project explained: “The main ambition of SMARTDEST is to contribute to the definition of a political agenda for cities that takes seriously the tourism mobility, at all levels of government, and which brings out the potential of social innovation from citizens’ commitment for more resilient communities“.

At the end of the first day there will be a review of speeches by European innovators of the tourism industry and city administrations who will present some of the most exciting developments in the sector of sustainable urban tourism in Europe. This will serve as an inspiration for the following day’s activities.

The second day is conceived as an opportunity for future innovators, the students, but also local communities, professionals and researchers to work together to develop innovative ideas. An Ideathon will take place on July 7: a co-planning process developed by a collective intelligence to find solutions to questions and challenges.

This will also constitute a preparatory activity for the 2023 MITdesignX Venice Call for ideas, a SerenDPT program managed in collaboration with MIT of Boston and Fondazione di Venezia. It is a competition of ideas dedicated to the development of entrepreneurship and the creation of startups in the Venetian area.

The concrete challenges on which the participants of the ideathon are called to seek solutions are closely connected to the SMARTDEST project: new models of inclusive tourism, urban mobility, solutions to encourage residential living and mechanisms for democratic participation in city governance.

For Venice, the ambition of the project is to create a spirit of creative, dynamic and fluid collaboration, to encourage the settlement in the historic city of innovative economic activities capable of creating new high-quality jobs. This would favour permanent residency and gradually repopulate Venice, counteracting the entropy that leads from overtourism to exodus.

The event is open to the public subject to availability and upon registration by following the instructions on the website

Is smart tourism something tourist destinations only talk about, or also really implement?

By Dejan Križaj, Miha Bratec, Peter Kopić and Tadej Rogelja, University of Primorska

The focus of the research is on the adoption and implementation of technological innovations to analyse the Smart Tourism projects implemented in Europe according to the stringent technological criteria of contemporary Smart Tourism definitions.

Smart Tourism followed in the footsteps of the earlier concept of sustainable tourism and quickly established itself as the reference adjective when discussing tourism in politics, economics, and academia. In the latter, the debate has been lively, and although there are many different conceptualizations, academics seem to agree that Smart Tourism is based on the use of novel technologies that improve the quality of visitor and local experiences, while enabling destinations to take steps towards achieving their sustainability goals. However, as it happened in the past with the term “sustainable”, the adjective “smart” seems to be heavily misused when describing the various transformations that tourist destinations and cities are currently facing. Mostly, it dominates the marketing discourse, with many destinations trying to use this “smart” concept because it gives them a competitive advantage over other tourist destinations based on uniqueness and differentiation.

Based on our study, the reality of developing smart solutions within these destinations is mostly still in its infancy. More specifically, we, in detail, analyse:

  1. What is the real content of the Smart Tourism projects currently implemented within Europe and supported by substantial EU (European Union) funding?
  2. What are the characteristics of the Smart Projects and what kind of technology solutions are used in them?
  3. Can we really see the rapid technological progress in tourism services that the marketers of Smart Destinations promise?
  4. What do the currently implemented projects tell us about the future of Smart Tourism and Smart Destinations?

Summary of key findings:

Our work differed from most methods used in other studies that rely on the construction of conceptual models, frameworks, or indicator systems based on the evaluation of Smart City or

Smart Tourism goals, statements, strategies, and initiatives. The presented study goes a step further and tries to understand which technological innovations exactly were adopted and how they contribute to projects’ smartness. In order to better distinguish between conventional and advanced, interconnected technology, we have placed a special focus on Smart Actionable attributes of the projects analyzed. From what we could perceive in the selected projects, four smart technology trends can be identified: 1) Connectivity and Big Data, 2) Connectivity and Intelligent Algorithms, 3) Big Data and 4) “smart” projects with mainly well-represented technology that does not exploit the Smart Actionable possibilities.

In our initial online resource search, we encountered the vast majority of projects that were touted as “smart” but did not address any of the newer aspects of ICT infrastructure, such as interconnectivity and interoperability of integrated technologies. They were therefore excluded from our study, leaving only 35 projects, which we analysed in detail and assigned to the four groups mentioned above. This confirms our preliminary findings that there is a lot of hype and little substance (e.g., smart washing) regarding Smart Tourism projects. This problem stems in part from the fact that there are different, everchanging definitions and meanings of the term Smart Tourism. Subsequently, different stakeholders and entities adopt different meanings and set different priorities based on their viewpoints and schools of thought.

See full paper: