Marisa Vitorino Figueiredo

The Lisbon Tourism Board is making plans for a new digital platform, with the aim of providing tailored tourist experiences and simultaneously help to distribute tourist numbers more evenly throughout the region. The project, which will suggest activities according to users’ preferences, should be operational by the summer of 2016.
“We will try to have the tourist’s ‘ID card’, so we can promote things in a more personalized way. If we know what the tourist likes, what their preferences are, we can make suggestions, taking in consideration the need to make better use of the entire territory”  as Vitor Costa, the president of the Regional Tourism Entity (ERT) for the Lisbon Region, explained to Smart Cities. Access to this “technologically advanced platform” will be via a website, as well as an integrated app.

As a result “we hope there will be a more balanced growth [of tourism] in the region, not just in the city of Lisbon”, he added. At the same time, offering personalized suggestions might also help address imbalances in visitor numbers within the city itself, Costa highlighted, giving the example of the low number of visitors to the Costume and Theatre Museums, which are far from the main tourist areas of Lisbon (Belém, Chiado/Baixa and Castelo).

Dispersing the flow of tourists over a wider area is also necessary to relieve the urban infrastructure of the most visited boroughs. “There are efforts to be made towards improving  the quality of the city’s public services, but also by managing the flow [of tourists] through a more personalized offer”, Costa suggested.

By following a “clearly outlined strategy”, the implementation of the platform should begin in September. Initial steps will be the contracting of a platform supplier and an internal re-structuring  of Lisbon Tourism. “By next summer, we should have something [ready]”, he concluded.

Between January and June this year, over 5.5 million of tourist overnight stays were recorded for the Lisbon region. This represents a 9.9% increase over the same period last year, according to official statistics.