Innovating the 21st Century Tourism Experience

At the commence of the UAE Innovation Week, we had two fun days delivering the Tourism Innovation Studio at The UAE National Council of Tourism and Antiquities.

The studio which took place on 22 and 23 November at Meydan hotel in Dubai brought together 45 participants from various government and non-government tourism organizations in the UAE and its key objective was to offer them the opportunity to try first hand some of the most advanced technology innovation tools and then design new policy and services to improve the tourism sector in the UAE.


Ibrahim Elbadawi kicking off the studio with notes on innovation in the digital age

During the first day, the participants spent most of the time:

– flying a drone outside the lab room

– designing and printing 3D objects using a 3D Printer

– experiencing the Internet of Things concept by activating a set of sensors and Single Board Computers connected to the internet to measure the room temperature and humidity and see the results in real time.

– testing some advanced smart mobile applications including a Virtual Reality app designed for tourist and residents.

– understanding the concepts of big and open data


A group of the participants while flying a drone

All these practical session were backed with discussion on the possible implications of these innovation tools on the tourism sector in the UAE, and the participants discussed studies from around the world.

The participants highly enjoyed these live technology demonstrations and raised many questions with focus on potential applications in tourism sector in the UAE.

On Day 2 of the studio was the Innovation Challenge day, we grouped the participants into 4 teams  and gave them the mission of designing an innovative solution to solve a problem or tackle an opportunity in the tourism sector in the UAE. The solution has to use a mashup of the tools we demonstrated in Day 1.


A 3D printed model designed and printed by the participants during the studio

All teams worked hard with a high spirit of innovation and managed to deliver solutions on time. The solution covered the following areas:

– Travel and transportation

– Hotels and hospitality

– Environment

– Sightseeing and shopping

One of the team while brainstorming and preparing for their pitch

One of the team while brainstorming and preparing for their pitch

Each team went on stage and pitched their solution in front of a panel of expert judges who joined us in the studio especially for this purpose. The judges provided each team with a feedback on how to improve their solution. At the end, the judges picked a winner.

Ibrahim and the the two guest judges before announcing the final results

Ibrahim and the the two guest judges before announcing the final results

We were excited and humbled by the participants positive feedback and their excitement about the whole experience, and looking forward to our upcoming rounds of this innovation studio in Oman and Qatar.

About The Author

An entrepreneur based in Australia and focusing on helping governments shift from Chrysler era to Tesla era! Founder of The Open Data Institute - Dubai Node and a Registered Open Data Trainer. Creating things around Data, IoT and Drones.

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