One of the most innovative and extensive research projects ever conducted into tourist travel will soon begin tracking the first of 600 visitors to Tasmania as they move around the State during the current summer tourist season.
Sense-T's world-leading Sensing Tourist Travel Project was launched in Hobart today by the Federal Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator Richard Colbeck, and Tasmanian Premier and Minister for Tourism, Will Hodgman.
The project will use smartphones and an app developed by Tasmanian ICT company Ionata to provide unprecedented insights into where particular groups of visitors go, how they move around the State, and what influences their decisions.
The data collected will help to guide marketing and investment decisions in the rapidly expanding tourism sector and will ultimately improve the visitor experience in Tasmania.
Led by the University of Tasmania's Professor Richard Eccleston and Dr Anne Hardy, the international multi-disciplinary project team includes specialists in GIS tracking and analysis, digital media marketing and decision-making, governance and evaluation, digital media use and economic evaluation.
Dr Hardy said the research is an international first in that it will track visitors' precise travel patterns on a statewide basis over a period of up to 10 days, with tourists to be recruited at Launceston and Hobart airports and the Spirit of Tasmania.
"The project will provide a proof of concept that app-based tracking can replace more traditional surveys of visitor experiences.
"It was designed in conjunction with the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania, Federal Hotels and Tourism Tasmania, and a wide range of industry stakeholders have been consulted as part of the project's design."
The Sensing Tourist Travel project is one of 14 Industry Research Projects currently being undertaken by Sense-T with funding from the Australian Government and contributions from research and industry partners.