Measure and better understand the behavior of both visitors and inhabitants of the heritage cities of the Atlantic Area to facilitate its management and achieve sustainable tourism and a better flow of people. This is the main objective of the project BODAH (Big and Open Data for Atlantic Heritage), lead by Tourism of Santiago de Compostela and in which six other entities of Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom, among them the Santa María la Real Foundation.
How to do it? By designing technological solutions that will collect data from different sources and transform it into practical knowledge. For now, the project, which began its journey at the end of 2019, has already managed to define its own system of indicators that will determine which data has to be measured and that will be applied as a pilot in four cities: Santiago de Compostela and San Sebastián in Spain, Pau in France and Cork in Ireland.
The system has been designed based on the European one, adapting it, on the one hand, to the characteristics of the project and the cities in which it is planned to intervene and, on the other, to the exceptional situation generated by the coronavirus. “Our challenge is to consolidate sustainable tourism and improve the management of the flow of people in the cities where we operate, something beneficial for both the visitor and the inhabitants of the destination”, explain those responsible for BODAH.
To achieve this, in the first place, it is necessary to know their behavior and this is influenced by the system of indicators that establishes what aspects need to be measured and evaluated in order to achieve adequate tourism management. Thus, it answers some fundamental questions such as: which places are the most visited, how many people receive, how does this transit affect the site in question, what perception the tourist and the inhabitant have of the destination and, what socio-economic effects are generated in the city.
30 indicators with attention to the coronavirus
The answer is determined by 30 indicators, with a triple functionality: knowing the real situation of the monitored places or spaces; anticipate and prevent possible saturations and establish action strategies aimed at promoting good practices in the field of tourism.
In this way, the system developed within the BODAH project will allow, for example, to know how many people visit the historic center of the city of Santiago at any given time, how long they stay there, how their visit affects the environment, what image the tourist of the city or how the local population perceives their stay.
“At times like this, in which the coronavirus has completely disrupted our day to day, it is essential to have tools and systems that allow better control of tourism and the influx to certain spaces to ensure safety,” say those responsible of BODAH, who have taken this into account when designing their system of indicators.
Once the system is defined and the four cities to be intervened have already been established, the consortium that makes up the BODAH project, in which Fomento de San Sebastián, Fundación Santa María la Real participate together with Turismo de Santiago. of the Historical Heritage, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Cork Institute of Technology, Glasgow Caledonian University and Bangor University will continue working on the development of technological solutions that facilitate better management of tourism and the flows of people in heritage cities of the Atlantic Area.
It should be remembered that the BODAH project will run until 2021, within the Interreg Atlantic Area program, with a total budget of 1,573,373 euros, of which 75% are provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).