Caribbean Open Data Scoping Study: Tourism

Open data use and re-use can potentially improve the performance of the Caribbean tourism sector. A recent study conducted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) projected that productivity in the tourism sector could improve by as much as 10% with application of an open data initiative in Jamaica. The potential for improved services, product innovation, better tourism sector governance and increased visitor satisfaction are some of the benefits to be derived. Bearing this in mind, The Caribbean Open Institute (COI) has conducted several sector studies, inclusive of the tourism sector, to assess the value opportunities that can be created through open data initiatives in the region. This formed part of the research project “Harnessing Open Data to Achieve Development Results in Latin America and the Caribbean”, being executed by the COI as a member of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) program. The main objective of the sector studies is to understand the attributes, value-opportunities, enablers, and constraints of an emergent open data ecosystem in the Caribbean that can contribute to social, economic, environmental and governance benefits within the sectors under study.
The Caribbean tourism sector open data study considered the main tourism datasets such as tourist arrivals, tourism assets and tourism service providers, and any other tourism datasets used by the public agencies with responsibility for tourism data. The research study countries included Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The findings suggest that while there are differences in terms of awareness of open data and ICT infrastructure capacity, there are similarities in terms of issues relating to the legislative framework, engagement with user communities and financing for successful open data initiatives in the region. In addition, there are tourism data provenance issues with particular reference to the sources, owners and custodians of tourism data and the challenges of having multi-agency involvement with tourism data. Once, these issues have been addressed and the drive for openness established, tourism development and management activities can be better informed and governed through the use and re-use of open tourism data.
The focus has to shift to the more effective use of tourism data and therefore the next step to harnessing the value of open data is the implementation of a Use Case in the Caribbean tourism sector. Data use is key to creating an open data impact. Existing data usage should be assessed against potential usage opportunities that can bring value to a tourism sector and this is perhaps a key benefit of a Use Case. On one hand, there are strengths within the region in terms of technological innovations, political will and awareness of the importance of the tourism sector as an economic activity. On the other hand, there are concerns about the over-reliance on landed tourists, registration of tourism assets, and dependence on tourism as an economic activity as well as the lack of linkages between tourism activities and other economic sectors. A Use Case that can harness the benefits of open data should include these considerations. With this in mind, strategies are being developed to implement strategic initiatives through the provision of value opportunities that will form the basis for an open data road map for the Caribbean tourism sector. Innovation, inclusion and standards are among the strategic initiatives that can result in improved performance of the Caribbean tourism sector through the use and re-use of open data.
See Full Report: Tourism Sector Study
  • Michelle McLeod, Mona School of Business & Management, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica,
About the Caribbean Open Institute
The Caribbean Open Institute (COI) is a regional coalition of individuals and organizations that promotes open development approaches to inclusion, participation and innovation within the Caribbean, using open data as a catalyst. COI is part of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) program that brings together a leading network of partners who work to harness the potential of open data initiatives to enhance transparency and accountability as well as facilitate public service delivery and citizen participation.