Tourism Informatics: Visual Travel Recommender Systems, Social Communities, and User Interface Design
209 - 242
Information and Communication Technology
In this chapter we describe an e-Tourism environment that places emphasis on a communitydriven<br> approach to foster a lively society of travelers. It enables them to exchange travel<br> experiences, recommend tourism destinations or just catch some interesting gossip. Moreover,<br> business transactions such as booking a trip or getting assistance from professional travel agents<br> are a constituent part of this environment. All these interactions happen in an integrated, gamelike,<br> 3D Virtual World where each tourist is impersonated as an avatar. We draw a retrospective<br> on the specification, design and implementation of this e-Tourism environment and present the<br> status quo. We describe how we applied Electronic Institutions, a framework developed and<br> employed in the area of Multi-Agent Systems, to the tourism domain. Furthermore, we present<br> our approach to connect a 3D Virtual World with Electronic Institutions. Our goal is to provide a<br> test bed for assessing the acceptance of virtual environments, as a medium to overcome the nontangible<br> nature of tourism products.