As with many industries, the tourism sector has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis that swept across the globe during 2020, and now continues to disrupt many aspects of modern life.
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reports that over 80 percent of UNESCO World Heritage properties have closed down as a result of the pandemic, as a result threatening jobs and damaging the economies that thrive on the ripple effects of local tourism.
Due to the heavy reliance on customers visiting in person, tourism organisations have had to be resilient in adapting to lockdown restrictions and travel bans. Many innovative methods have been introduced to allow the virtual exploration of attractions, from videos posted on social media to interactive digital tours.
With some destinations starting to ease travel restrictions, the challenge for tourism companies is how to reopen whilst guaranteeing the safety of staff and visitors.
Many areas remain under strict regulation from authorities that prohibit crowds or large gatherings, which continues to cause problems for popular tourist locations. Social distancing requirements are preventing the reopening of sites and operating of businesses as usual, as guidelines make it difficult to manually control and manage people’s movement.
Technology, however, can help overcome these barriers, as shown by the successful reopening of the popular Archaeological Park of Pompeii in Italy. This has been possible due to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities & Tourism (MiBACT) equipping itself with the tools to support COVID-19 risk management and encourage tourists back responsibly.
The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities & Tourism was first set up in 1974 with the primary focus of supporting Italian culture, as well as protecting & preserving landscape, tourism, artistic sites and property.
In recent years there has been a drive to enhance and protect the heritage around Italy’s culture, landscape and environment. In this context, MiBACT and the Archaeological Park of Pompeii were willing to introduce a digital ecosystem, to be progressively extended to the Campania region, aimed at encouraging the promotion and sustainable development of the territory.
Safety & Security for Ministry of Cultural Heritages, Archaeological Park of Pompeii
Oracle was working with the customer on a loyalty programme to support such a digital ecosystem, when in response to the ongoing international health emergency the business needs suddenly dramatically changed.
The objective was now twofold: enable customers to return whilst prioritising their health and safety in line with the latest laws and regulations; and use this opportunity to encourage tourism growth through innovation and technology.
Pompeii site authority worked with Oracle Consulting to create a solution that would meet the outlined objectives.
A mobile application was immediately proposed to allow tourists to organise and plan their trip to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, with additional key features to help keep customers safe during the visit.
Due to COVID-based restrictions and urgency it was imperative that the mobile application was developed by a remote-working team within just six weeks. The project began on the 7th June 2020 and was live by the 23rd July.
Oracle Consulting Digital Experience Lead for Italy
Tourists are able to purchase tickets via the app through a QR code, book a time slot and then select one of the available itineraries to follow. The pre-defined routes are planned along wide spaces, providing maximum safety to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring visitors can enjoy the heritage site with peace of mind.
The app guides tourists throughout their visit, alerting of possible congestion along their chosen route and giving the option to postpone attractions that would be too crowded at any particular time.
Park authorities are able to anonymously capture valuable insight into the movement of people and use feedback provided through the app to prevent any potential high-risk situations.
Key features include:
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii and Oracle Consulting continue to enhance the experience of the ‘My Pompeii’ mobile app with additional features based on customer feedback and application insights.
The app is a first step towards the proposed digital ecosystem that will enhance and preserve tourism & culture within the local area.
The customer selected Oracle Consulting services in June 2020.