1 Technological Centre of Furniture and Wood (SPAIN)
2 The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (GERMANY)
3 Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 1786-1793
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.0514
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
The use of new technologies is becoming a necessity in many economy sectors to increase competitiveness. One example is rural tourism. With an estimate share of 15% in the European tourism, rural tourism sector occupies an important place in the European economy and is a key driver of sustainable growth of many regions form the member states, where rural tourist activities represent a large potential source of employment and contribute to economic health, competitiveness, creativity and innovation.

One of the new technologies that could increase competitiveness in tourism is Augmented Reality (AR). In recent years, AR has gained importance in other sectors such as marketing or education. AR offers a virtual space that is superimposed on the real image or integrated into it, giving the user a mixed reality through a screen. The user points to the object or place he wants to “augment” with the camera of his/her smart device, be it a mobile phone or tablet. In tourism, AR technology can respond to the needs of the new traveler who is always connected and travels without making many plans for their routes, but who wants to have all the information “here and now”. In this sense, AR is shown as one of the most promising technologies for rural tourism, due to its capacity to anticipate experiences in an interactive and personalized way.

Applications with AR technology focused on tourism and environmental information in natural areas are low so far, due to limitations such as connectivity or energy supply. The emerging 5G networks could improve these matters.

Focused on rural tourism, as far as the authors’ knowledge, not specific and current working applications with AR are available in the market. Only one Spanish application was found, with limited augmented content, released in 2001 and not available anymore. Limitations to release the high potential of AR are found in its novelty, the related costs and a lack of skills and knowledge on the ground limiting its uptake and use in rural areas.

This work is twofold: on the one hand:
(i) to shed light on the available training offer about AR in the tourism sector in Europe. The goal is to define the requirements of tailored Vocational Education and Training courses. The reasons of this goal come from the fact that the staff qualifications, the ageing workforce and the inability to attract young workers and entrepreneurs remain one of the crucial problems that need to be addressed in tourism sector. On the other hand,
(ii) to analyze the set of tools and frameworks which are available in the market and can support the creation of AR tools. The results of both analyses are used to elaborate the conclusions, where the basis for an AR solution for rural tourism environments is defined.
Augmented Reality, rural tourism, AR tools, VET training.