The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) drew the curtain on four innovative projects at the recent GITEX Technology Week 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The technology-driven projects will work to further boost the competitiveness of the emirate’s tourism sector. The ‘AI Tour Guide Chatbot,’ a 24/7 voice-and text-based chatbot, was developed to provide the latest information about Sharjah to tourists. The interactive tour guide chatbot, which is accessible via WhatsApp, a mobile app, SCTDA’s website and Facebook messenger, shares accurate details about the emirate’s top tourist destinations, must-do activities, world-class accommodations, leading restaurants and much more.
The project is the result of SCTDA’s initiative to incorporate the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), into its tourism programmes, to better highlight Sharjah’s renowned hospitality while enhancing visitor experience. The AI Tour Guide Chatbot supports five languages, including Arabic, English, German, Chinese and Russian, and can recognise various Arabic accents.
Also launching is the ‘Smart Hotel Licensing and Classification’ system. This project fully automates the business processes of the Tourism Standard Department. It covers various service modules, such as the ‘Hotel Establishment Registration and Online Application’ of all licensing-related services; inspection; violation management; hotel establishment classification management for classification and grading system; and assessment management, allowing SCTDA to supervise all assessment information.
The third project is called the ‘Smart Vehicle Permit System,’ which aims to reduce time spent in managing vehicle permit applications, as well as other transactions for desert tour or safari vehicles. The multi-purpose online system assists with the faster issuance of permits and vehicle stickers. It issues electronic permits and vehicle stickers with countermeasures to thwart duplication and forgeries. The system is also equipped with smart workflows that identify the process and automatically assign the application to the responsible individual in the chain for action.
Lastly, the ‘Hotel Statistics System – Business Intelligence (HSS – BI) solution’ is a user-friendly system that collates on-the-spot guest data and statistics on multiple variables, such as nationality, length of stay, revenue and occupancy rates, among others. It also enables the user to interact smartly using the interactive tools in the dashboard to make and customise reports, aiding decision makers in making necessary judgments.
On the developments, chairman, SCTDA, HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa stated: “These latest projects reflect our commitment to introducing technology-driven ideas that will promote Sharjah as a world-class tourist destination with a wide range of leisure, cultural, and entertainment activities. We are confident that these initiatives will help accelerate the fulfillment of the main goal of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which is to attract 10 million tourists to our shores.
“Over the years, we have witnessed how technology has transformed the hospitality and tourism landscape. It has helped reduce costs, enhance operational efficiency, and improve services and customer experience. We want to emphasise this role even further. Continuous innovation is one of the Authority’s strategies and we target that by end of 2019, we can provide innovative digital channels and tools that serve all individuals and institutions,” he concluded.