Developed at the University of Tasmania (UTas), Tourism Tracer uses a smartphone app to track the movements of visitors as they travel around.
Since 2016, the project has recorded accurate, real-time data of at least 1,000 tourists’ travel patterns via GPS information, while also generating pop-up surveys for participants.
The chief executive of the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania, Luke Martin, said it was a shame UTas had failed to develop a long-term business model for the project.
Mr Martin said the technology had been a valuable and exciting resource for learning which types of tourists travel to particular areas, and how long they spend there.
But the project’s funding ends on April 30 and Mr Martin is worried the university has not developed a sustainable operating model.
“What they haven’t been able to do in the last three years in demonstrate to the industry or government a model for its long-term, sustainable continuation in Tasmania, and its expansion in Tasmania,” Mr Martin said.
Mr Martin said there was no doubt Tourism Tracer had been successful.
Since its development in Tasmania, the Tourism Tracer technology has been picked up in Sweden to track the behaviour of cyclists.
It has also been used in a pilot program in Japan.
In 2016, the first phase of the pilot program received $500,000 in Federal Government funding through the Sense-T program, a partnership between the State Government, UTas and CSIRO.
The second stage was funded by UTas, the Tasmanian Government, the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania and Federal Group at a total cost of $410,000.
The university’s deputy vice-chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said data collected to date would remain available for government and industry after April 30.
“In the absence of support from other agencies, the university has committed to maintaining the capacity to collect such data in Tasmania in the future,” Professor Heywood said.
The university is looking into a commercial incarnation of the technology.
“The university is currently involved in negotiations for the first commercial licence of the technology, on terms that need to accommodate the expectations of a variety of stakeholders, including the state’s tourism industry, the university’s government supporters and the incoming licensees, while preserving an ability to allow the research to continue.”
In a statement, a government spokesperson said Tourism Tracer provided valuable detail about the growing number of travellers visiting Tasmania
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