ICT developments are no less a threat to the Rural Tourism Micro Enterprise (RTME) sector than current trends in mergers in tourism products and sales channels and in increasing customer demands. VMART will develop an open, ICT-based European infrastructure for sales and development of RTME. Quality of information for trade and public buyers will be the strategy for system sustainability. The system will provide ICT applications for real time sales, for quality control, invoicing, feasibility studies, and promotional databases. It will elaborate brand concepts for RTME and provide a platform for promotion at European level. It will adapt booking and information applications to emerging WAP technology. The system will encourage broad uptake of ICT, encourage continuous improvements in quality, will provide statistical data for research, will disseminate expertise and is conceived as a profitable business enterprise in its own right.
1. To create an innovative, commercially sustainable European infrastructure for the Rural Tourism Micro Enterprise (RTME) sector that serves the public, the trade, research institutions, advisory services and policy makers;
2. To forge a human interface between RTME providers and ICT and thus improve their competitiveness and pave the way for their use on WAP and other emerging technology in the next years;
3. To raise the quality of electronic information on RTME products and thus open sales channels and expand markets;
4. Create a range of ICT applications for RTME business including real time booking systems;
5. Facilitate Europe-wide participation of national or regional RTME sales agents as strategic facilitators for linking the system to the sector.
The project will advance in the following steps:
1. VMART will start with a business process analysis to quantify commercial aspects of the RTME sector, including identification of sales channels. This analysis will also cover the commercial marketing activities of RTME associations and identify constraints on market expansion and higher occupancy;
2. There will also be a study of the state of the art in ICT applications for RTME providers and for their sales and development agents;
3. Systems architecture and semantic models development work will then commence, both for the data distribution systems and for the individual applications to be produced, such as real time booking systems; 4. Research will concurrently be done on trends in data transfer technology including Internet, satellite and WAP or combinations of these methods;
5. Data transfer system prototypes will be tested, including WAP and Internet by linking to the user partners who are active in the business of RTME sales;
6. The applications to be tested will include real time booking systems for Internet and WAP, differing interfaces for trade and public, billing and accounting, on-line feasibility studies, quality control and definition databases, databases for collection of statistics for research and development;
7. Information on the system and applications will be disseminated on the Internet and at trade fairs concurrently with the commencement of exploitation - which will be based on achieving broad participation throughout Europe from specialised national or regional RTM agents. Sale of statistics requires a shared, consolidated pool of information gathered from enterprises across Europe. Advertising revenue also depends on broad and well defined participation;
8. At the end of the project some consortium partners will continue to expand operations as a private commercial organisation under the name of country-holidays.com.
Significant milestones will be:
1. State of Art research completed: business process analysis, ICT applications in use, data transfer practices;
2. ICT application prototype demos operational;
3. Data Transfer Projection;
4. Dissemination commenced at Trade Fairs and on Internet;
5. Exploitation commenced.
Expected results: Operational and sustainable infrastructure for RTME sales and development. Wide participation of commercial players at European level. Socio-economic benefits for the RTME sector.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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