Heidiland blockchain sets course for tourism of the future

Together with "Rell.io" and other partners, Heidiland Tourism is developing the world's first blockchain network in tourism. The project is intended to lay the foundation for a new dimension in the digitalization of the leisure industry in a destination. The development of "HeidiCHain" is also supported by Innotour, the funding instrument of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO for tourism.

Networked destination: A tourism blockchain is being created in the Heidiland vacation region. (Image: Heidiland Tourism/Thomas Kessler)

In the vacation region of Heidiland, the destination management organization DMO is working together with the blockchain specialists from "Rell.io" and other technology and tourism partners on the world's first tourism blockchain, as Heidiland writes in a release. As part of the "HeidiCHain" project, a fully functional private blockchain environment is being created that is specifically tailored to the needs of a tourism region.


How does a tourism blockchain work?

The term "blockchain" is now often associated with speculative cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. However, this has nothing to do with the work currently being done in Heidi's home, the statement continues. The "HeidiCHain" uses within the consortium affiliated partners for a decentralized and anonymous data storage of all transactions. Data is therefore not collected centrally by a partner. This means that customer data cannot be viewed and is completely secure. In addition, the "HeidiCHain" would in future allow the various players within the region to share the data in a decentralized and anonymous manner and to carry out transactions of all kinds.


Digitized tourist tax administration as the first application

Accommodation, gastronomy, mountain railroads, thermal baths, sporting goods rental, guided tours: today, the overall experience for the guest in a typical destination is often made up of numerous individual providers and individual services that function completely in isolation from one another and are not infrequently even (yet) bookable online. On the supply side, individual tourism service providers would have customer data available, but this could not be anonymized, shared and thus used in a meaningful way by all service providers within a destination - for analyses of visitor flows or for needs-based product developments, for example. The "HeidiCHain" is intended to create the technological basis here so that completely new applications will be possible in the future, both on the demand side and on the supply side.

In the project phase, after the blockchain and the corresponding service provider consortium have been set up, the first concrete use case to be implemented will be a system for automated, digital visitor tax billing for the guest and the service provider. Today, visitor tax administration in the Heidiland vacation region by the DMO is very personnel-intensive, difficult to control and time-delayed, and entails a high administrative effort for all parties involved, as Heidiland writes. With the digitalization of the reporting system on the basis of the Heidiland Blockchain, the quality of the reported tourism data for the overnight stay statistics is to be improved at the same time as the reduction of the administrative effort on the part of the hotel industry, the guest, the destinations and the public authorities involved.


Tourist ID as a "digital key" to the region

Also part of the project phase is the introduction of a digital tourist ID with a corresponding mobile application, according to the statement. In the future, guests will be able to buy this ID once from the destination and thus receive a personal "digital key" to the region on their smartphone. In this way, payments in the restaurant, access to the mountain railroad or the opening of the vacation apartment door will be possible in the future - quite simply with the smartphone and without additional effort. Further expansion steps based on the "HeidCHain" include the establishment of a digital marketplace and the development of dashboards for real-time data analysis, for example for the development of new tourism products.

The project is being implemented jointly by blockchain experts from "Rell.io", Heidiland Tourism, the economic partners TSO, from Tourist-Data Shop and other external partners as well as the regional service providers. The new solution with the first applications should be available to guests for the first time in the winter season 21/22.

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