eTourism and community informatics

Just saw a notice for ENTER (eTourism) conference, scheduled for Amsterdam in 2009. What caught my eye were sessions on community informatics, user-generated content, accessibility, cultural heritage, online communities, and other topics related to community informatics. One of the speakers is Ulrike Gretzel, who earned her PhD here in 2004 in Communication, with a specialty in etourism.

It’s interesting to reflect on eTourism in relation to community informatics, both in terms of the underlying similarities in approach and because it’s one avenue for students to take. Tourism is the largest business in the world and the most IT-intensive. It’s also the major means of survival for many in impoverished communities.

The mission of our own tourism department is

to understand and promote the development and sustainability of healthy communities and advance quality of life and well-being of individuals, families, and communities through parks, recreation, sport, and tourism.

Compare that to the mission of the Community Informatics Initiative:

works with people to develop information and communication technologies to achieve their goals. It fosters collaborations across campus, local, national and international communities. Together we build innovative community networks, community technology centers, software, and library services.

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