Smart Tourism Sets the Bar for Cities’ Tech Future

Tourism is a major revenue source for many cities, whether they attract visitors because of theme parks, historic or natural sites, or sporting events. Recently, something else has been drawing tourists to some places: technology.

Home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Orlando, Fla., has little trouble bringing in visitors — a record 75 million of them in 2018, to be exact — but Mayor Buddy Dyer wants to make sure their experience in the city, not just the parks, is top-notch.

“To accommodate visitors of that [number], you have to continuously figure out how to use technology,” Dyer said. In fact, in-vehicle GPS navigation got its start in Orlando, helping tourists safely get from the airport to their hotels, and the city was the first to try electronic tolling on highways. Now, Orlando International Airport is pilot testing facial-recognition technology to ease checkpoint crowds for international flights.

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