GTTP Research Award

2014 Winning Case Studies on Technology and Sustainable Tourism


  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Brazil) - Olímpia, population 54,000 is home to a gigantic waterpark. On a typical day, so many visitors arrive that the town’s population almost doubles. However, the region faces a severe drought. Fortunately, waterparks recycle water. One challenge is to reduce visitor water consumption in the town’s hotels, most of which are small or B&Bs. “The use of simple and very cheap technology can help small hotels save water and reduce energy consumption,” the team reported. ”Simple actions can generate great changes.” The team shows how.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Canada) - The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve is a150, 000 hectares (almost 600 square miles) preserve adjacent to the Province of Ontario’s Thousand Islands region. Designated a Biosphere in 2002 by UNESCO, the preserve uses its surroundings as a living laboratory to test and demonstrate the management of land, water and biodiversity. It has three goals: first, provide support for research; secondly, contribute to conservation; third, foster sustainable economic and human development. It is a complicated and challenging task. The team shows why.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (China) - The team, one member of which had had vacation job with a famous hotel chain, investigated the application of digital and other technology to achieve sustainability goals at hotels in Hangzhou and Qingdao. One hotel is China’s first “smart hotel.” The technology used touches architectural design and local culture; the guest experience; staff efficiency; food and beverage management; water and energy conservation; solid waste management; expense management, and competitive advantage.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Hong Kong) - Ocean Park Hong Kong combines an amusement park and its 80 or attractions with a marine animal park, a theme park with animals, and an oceanarium. In 2013 more than 7 million people poured into the park’s 226 acres (91.5 hectares). The students examine technology that improves the visitor experience and improves the way the park manages energy consumption. They also offer suggestions.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Hungary) - Visitors come to Sárvár, a pleasant town of about 16,000 people, to visit its spa, castle, churches, arboretum, park and lake. The student team decided to research how smart phones and QR codes are used to market Sárvár’s attractions. Among other things, the team provides a comprehensive briefing on how QR codes work and how useful they are. The team determined that Sárvár and its visitors would benefit from greater use of this technology.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Ireland) - Travelers today, report the team, can “take a tour of a city without a tour guide, book a flight with a booking desk, and tell tales of exotic locations without opening their mouths.” This is Ireland in the Age of the App, the mobile digital applications that make smart phones and other mobile devices smart. The team takes us on a tour of Ireland, show us how apps are changing travel and tourism.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Jamaica) - The team explored the operations of Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which offers “natural adventures and excursions” ranging from riding horses along the beach to tubing and zip-line rides. Five hundred of the company’s 700 or so employees are in Jamaica. The team reported that the company uses technology to manage water conservation, energy use and waste control. The team noted that the company invests in employee training, hires locally and works with local suppliers.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Kenya) - “Transformative technology” is an overused term, but it fits very precisely Kenya’s M-Pesa money transfer service that makes it possible for people without bank accounts or easy access to banks to transfer money and pay for goods and services. It is operated by Safaricom, a mobile phone service provider. Almost half the population of Kenya uses M-Pesa. The students tells us about the impact M-Pesa has had on Kenya’s economy. The “M” in M-Pesa , by the way, stands for “Mobile” and “Pesa” means “money” in Swahili.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (Russia) - The students came up with the idea of creating a “mash up” or linking together the capabilities of a tablet computer and a Google Glass wearable computer. Tourists could use the mash up to plan their day, including where to visit and where to eat, then use the Google Glass as a personal tour guide as the explore wherever they are. Their case study comes complete with a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (S.W.O.T) analysis and a discussion of how to finance the development of their idea.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (South Africa) - The cliffs of South Africa’s Mossel Bay are home to caves containing stone age technology dating back 170,000 years and human remains from 100,000 years. At the top of the cliffs and stretching back inland is technology dating 8 years: this is where Pinnacle Point Beach and Golf Resort, opened in 2006, is located. The students examine how modern technology can help preserve the stone age technology for scholars and allow the resort to co-exist with this important archaeological site.

  • 2014 Case Study Winner (United Kingdom) - “Our research was focused on exploring the relationship between sustainable tourism and how technology supports it,” wrote the team. The team also wanted to understand how the how the visitor experience was improved. Four local businesses were examined. They ranged from a hotel to a maker of sea salt. One conclusion reached: technology today moves so quickly it outstrips some businesses’ ability to understand how new developments can help them survive.