According to Pine and Gilmore , over the last two hundred years we have witnessed a shift from an Agrarian Economy based on extracting commodities, to an Industrial Economy based on manufacturing goods, to a Service Economy based on delivering services, and finally to an Experience Economy based on staging experiences. In the same time span, tourism has evolved from being an elitarian pursuit to being a leading world industry, contributing with over 10% to global GDP (source: WTO). In a fast growing scenario such as the tourism market, if Europe wants to keep its leading position, considering the increasing competitive pressure of emerging countries where labour and raw materials are enormously cheaper, it won’t definitely be through beach, general purpose, tourism. Rather, it will have to leverage on its artistic and archaeological resources that make a visit to places like Rome, Florence or the Loire castles a unique experience. Polls and surveys, however, show that the average traveller is becoming increasingly demanding in terms of information and services: as Shoshana Zuboff points out, people are now more educated, informed, experienced, travelled and connected than earlier generations [Zuboff 2005]. This makes it necessary to invest in R&D for providing tourists with added value, user centred, highly personalized services. In short, memorable experiences. No matter what purpose is behind the project of a trip, travelling is an information intensive activity: variables are innumerable and for transforming a nice idea into a successful trip it is necessary to gather as much information as possible. This, in the age of Internet, can be a hard task: it is well known that extracting useful, meaningful information in an almost infinite repository such as the web, can be an extremely frustrating and time consuming endeavour. Furthermore, each phase of a trip requires different types of services and information. And, last but not least, as Negroponte  noted already over a decade ago, in the post-information age personalization is “upon us”: consumers are now accustomed to be considered as individuals, and “mass” is a synonym of “low quality” in a world where goods, services and, above all, information get everyday closer to their final target’s preferences through increasingly refined customization techniques. A solid point of reference, in this respect, is provided by the Open Tourism Consortium, on the emergence of a multi-faceted uCommerce,. In the proposed model a tour is organized in three phases: pre-, on-, and post-tour. In short, in order to support and promote cultural tourism and heritage, it is necessary to provide both domain experts, and general purpose users with an environment for accessing interactive, personalized, multimedia content through any kind of network and tool, seamlessly switching from one to the other. For reaching this objective it is necessary to cover the whole cultural product life-cycle using techniques and methodologies that range from tomography, to virtual reality, to ontologies, to marketing and customer segmentation techniques with a strong multidisciplinary approach.
D’Atri, Alessandro and Missikoff, Oleg, "AN IS BASED MODEL FOR EXPERIENCE DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT IN CULTURAL TOURISM" (2007). MCIS 2007 Proceedings. 14.