The development of DestinACE was supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. At the AIEST conference, the software won the prestigious Peter Keller Award and placed second in the Best Contribution category.
Petr Štumpf and Petr Janeček from the Faculty of Economics of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (UWB) were the first Czechs to win one of the main prizes at the conference of the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism, AIEST. They presented to their colleagues from all over the world their software tool DestinACE, which simulates various scenarios and can help destination managers with strategic planning and decision-making.
The AIEST conference is a major meeting of tourism scholars that has been regularly held in the last week of August since 1949. The event is hosted in a different city every year; after Lucerne in 2021 and Cologne in 2022, it took place in Madrid this year. The Faculty of Economics and the UWB were represented by Petr Štumpf and Petr Janeček, the latter of whom is also the head of the Institute of Tourism at the national agency CzechTourism. Participants from nearly twenty countries around the world were introduced to the new DestinACE online software that provides support to tourism destination managers in their decision-making.
“We presented a new product that was developed over the last four years in collaboration with the University of South Bohemia and the University of Primorska, Slovenia as well as many experts from the Pilsen region, the South Bohemian Tourism Centre and the Živý kraj agency. After our presentation, we were contacted by colleagues for example from Germany, Switzerland, the UK and New Zealand who expressed interest in our software,” said Petr Štumpf from the Department of Marketing, Trade and Services.
DestinACE is intended for destination managers whom it can help with strategic planning and decision-making in tourist destinations by simulating scenarios of future development. It can help for example when making decisions about the amount charged per stay or the marketing budget, when selecting visitor target segments, calculating future revenues from tourism or determining the impact on the environment and local residents.
The presentation also impressed those who throughout the conference cast their votes for the best presentations in the categories of Best Contribution, the Peter Keller Award for Linking Theory and Practice and the Award for the Best Doctoral Paper for young scientists. In the competition of almost forty presentations, the UWB representatives were successful in two categories and took home from Madrid not only the prestigious Peter Keller Award, but also second place in the Best Contribution category. Since 2015, when the awards were presented at the conference for the first time, no Czech representative has managed to win any of the main prizes.
The development of DestinACE was supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic from the programme Eta. It’s welcomed by destination management organisations from all over the Czech Republic. “CzechTourism was one of the application guarantors of the project, and we are very pleased that we’re able to implement scientific results in practice. That is the mission of the Institute of Tourism under the auspices of the national agency, carried out in cooperation with other universities and tertiary schools. The international visibility is a success not only for Czech science, but also the Czech Republic as a whole,” said Petr Janeček.
The Peter Keller Award is named after the Swiss Professor Emeritus at the University of Lausanne and the former president of AIEST. He was also the Chairman of the Tourism Commission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and is considered the founder of the InnoTour tool, which is used to implement innovations in tourism policy. As a pioneer of sustainability in tourism, he formulated the Swiss concept of tourism focusing on the economy, society and the environment back in 1979.
“We are deeply honoured by the Peter Keller Award. Our meeting with him two years ago in Lucerne was a great inspiration. In his active career, he contributed to the development of tourism both in academia and in practice in many international institutions. Together with the founders of AIEST, he also made a significant contribution to the promotion of tourism as a scientific discipline. After second place in the Best Contributions category two years ago, we have once again confirmed this year that in this discipline Czech scientists can compare themselves with the world’s best,” added Petr Štumpf.