Goal of this project is to define a joint research project/program between the two partner universities in the area of Information and Communication Technologies, in heritage tourism development. The following results are expected: (i) Develop long-term collaboration relationship; (ii) Develop a joint research project/program, and start common research publications on major academic outlets; (iii) Co-organize the 2017 Summer School of the UNESCO chair, to be hosted for the first time in China.
Located in the historical city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang University is a prestigious institution of higher education with a long history, which was founded in 1897 (Zhejiang University, 2015). Zhejiang University has been constantly top-ranked in China (#1-4), and worldwide (#101-150, according to ARWU: www.shanghairanking.com).
Research conducted in the department of Tourism and Hospitality has a special focus on the use of Information and Communication Technologies to preserve and communicate minority cultures.
Such research focus is very much in line with the research conducted at the UNESCO chair established at USI, focused on the role of ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites.
In particular, three research lines will be explored: (i) how to communicate heritage online to prospective tourists, especially those whose cultural background is very different (e.g., Swiss travelers interested in China, and Chinese travelers interested in Switzerland and Europe); (ii) how ICT and gamification features can be integrated in order to provide informal learning about heritage; (iii) how ICT can be applied to the training of tourism professionals, in order to support their upskilling.