This weekend we celebrate World Tourism Day. The United Nations very aptly notes that on this World Tourism Day, ‘the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism sector… Tourism can eventually help us move beyond the pandemic, by bringing people together and promoting solidarity and trust – crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation so urgently needed at this time.’
In what has been a most unusual 2020 and undoubtedly one of the most challenging years for tourism in living memory, we introduce you to one of Solubility’s tourism industry clients who shares his passion for tourism, some of his learnings from working in the industry and how he has remained positive in these unprecedented times.
Meet Martin Anderson CEO and Founder of Gulliver and Ionata Digital
What is your current role and how did your career lead you to it?
I am the CEO and Founder of Gulliver. We develop software that helps track and visualise trends in tourist behaviour. I have also run a successful software development business for 20 years. Ionata Digital develops web applications and mobile apps for a wide range of business, government and community sector clients as diverse as bus ticketing right through to road kill reporting.
In 2016, Ionata Digital was the technical partner for the University of Tasmania’s Tourism Tracer project which researched whether it was possible to use technology to more accurately and effectively track tourists movements and sentiments while on holiday. Tourism Tracer was such a successful project that Gulliver was formed to commercialise the platform and make realtime tourist tracking a reality.
My whole career has been based around the transformative power of the internet to communicate ideas and allow interactions from all over the world. I love the way in which the internet connects us all and accelerates sharing knowledge at light speed.
What does World Tourism Day mean to you?
I believe tourism is a force for good in the world. Connecting cultures by sharing experiences and leading to deeper engagement in our interconnected world.
Every dollar spent on travel and tourism generates over three dollars of economic output according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, meaning that tourism is great for emerging economies. But there does remain the issue of how to ensure tourism doesn’t overwhelm communities and how can we ensure that tourism preserves cultural heritage and environmental heritage for future generations. We’re really pleased that Gulliver’s tourism research platform can have a role in assisting communities monitor the impact of tourism and weigh that up against the benefits.
How do you distinguish yourself/your brand from your competitors?
Existing tourism market research solutions are expensive to collect and slow to turn around. By the time the printed tourism data for last financial year hits your desk you’ve already moved on to how to manage next season.
The Gulliver visitor research platform brings together the strengths of real-time tracking tourists throughout their visit to a region and then connecting that with demographic or other relevant information about each tourist’s background, reasons for travelling and satisfaction. Gulliver’s dashboard provides information about visitors in your region right now while also allowing you to compare to historical data without losing flexibility to ask visitors the questions you and your local stakeholders really care about.
In your current role what’s the best business decision you’ve made?
Even though we’re selling software its still important to meet with your customers directly and I think the best decision I’ve made was to attend a number of trade shows and conferences for the tourism and travel research industry during our first 18 months of launching Gulliver. Meeting with our customers directly and hearing their feedback on our product was essential to crafting our message and connecting the opportunity for our research product with their need for insights into their market.
COVID has presented unique challenges for tourism during 2020. What have been the main challenges and how have you responded? How have you remained positive in these unprecedented times?
It’s absolutely true that 2020 has been a huge blow to the tourism industry all around the world. We were actually undertaking tourism research in some of the first COVID hot spots including the north of Italy! The main challenge for us is of course that there are no tourists to track in many parts of the world at the moment. However we are optimistic about the future for Gulliver because we believe our visitor research solution is perfect to assist regions as they open back up. We also made a significant investment in extending our destination guide app which regions can use to provide a digital guide to visitors and importantly keep visitors to a region up to date with safety notices and managing dispersal of visitors throughout their region.
Solubility has assisted Ionata Digital with legal issues over the past few years and is delighted to continue to assist Ionata Digital to bring its vision to the world of tourism.
You can follow the links to learn more about Gulliver and Ionata Digital or if you would like to know more about intellectual property in apps and legal issues to consider in app development please get in touch with our team at Solubility.
Solubility fun facts: Most memorable travel destination
Jeff – A toss-up between (i) Chicago for its architecture, being a more stylish and manageable version of New York and catching up with a great colleague from Kansas after a 20-year break that seemed like only yesterday and (ii) Lake Como – la dolce vita in idyllic surroundings!
Trinity – In Tokyo with Harajuku girls. New York and South of France also get a mention as favourite travel destinations.
Louise – Cambodia holds a special place in my heart after living and working there during 2004/2005. My travel pick is returning to Cambodia in early 2019 with my husband and two young children (then 5 yrs and 18 months) to share with them the beauty (and traffic chaos) that captured my heart.
Lexi – Exploring some of the best preserved Greek temples in Agrigento, Sicily. 7am to beat the 45 degree heat!
Finally, it’s not too late to join the fun for World Tourism Day here.
Cover Image: Gondola ride, Grand Canal, Venice
Photo by: Diego Gennaro on Unsplash