Friday, 2 October 2009

A new generation of NTO Tourist Information Portals?

A number of National Tourist Organisations (e.g., have recently published relaunched versions of their B2C websites and others are currently working on a relaunch project (e.g.

It seems that the fast growing development and penetration of Web 2.0 applications and services have induced Web managers to realize that a “generation change” is dawning for the web portals of NTOs.

In fact, the objectives and the characteristics of websites had to be adapted over the past 15 years influenced by new developments in terms of technology, business processes and consumer behavior.

Eric van Heck (in 2005) already reflected on the website developments up to the year 2009. Van Heck identified the phase of the “smart business networks” as subsequent to b2b/b2c-platforms for buyers and sellers likewise. It is interesting that this pattern of change seems to follow a period of 3 to 4 years.

Analysing the relaunched tourism portals (e.g. also in more detail makes it obvious that we have entered a new stage which has the content presence across various channels as the main objective.

Hence, I have extended van Hecks “website development phase model” with the “distributed web” stage which is determined by content aggregation from and distribution to other platforms and communication channels (click on illustration above to enlarge).

The interactive map on is a good example for content aggregation from various sources (click on graphic to enlarge). offers visitors various interesting possibilities to create content and share it with others and therewith foster the community building amongst Finland fans and tourists (click on graphic to enlarge).

Nevertheless, I wonder whether b2c tourism information portals of NTOs will remain important for future users when the content is available on other platforms and in other channels anyway? A Danish gentleman, attending the TourMIS workshop at the Modul University a few weeks ago, even raised the question whether NTOs are still needed at all?

And if Google (or similar search engines) is used by the vast majority of users and obviously represents the state of the art of information search why do NTOs not consider applying a similar principle?

What do you think? Is the structure of National Tourist Organsations' websites and the content offered still relevant for the search and browsing behaviour of internet users?


  1. great innovations - thank you for sharing Christian

    I have been asking whether DMOs are needed and whether DMSs are required for the last 5 years since there are some many other outlets now

    This is a very serious debate to have perhaps at ENTER2010 conference in?

  2. Hi Dimitrios,

    Thanks for your comment. I think NTOs should analyse in more detail why Google, Wikipedia (not WikiTravel?) and Facebook attract millions of users and should not only cooperate with them but should also implement similar platforms.

    Although, we all know that NTOs also have to act within a political context, but this does not necessarily mean that more user-oriented solutions are impossible.

    Yes, a panel debate on that matter at ENTER 2010 would be a great idea!

    Nice day!

  3. great - check your email - invitation waiting ;-)