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The rapid development of technologies introduces smartness to all organisations and communities (Buhalis, & Amaranggana, 2014. P. 553), for which sacred heritages are no exception, as evident in their increasing use of technological mediated applications towards enhancing the visitors experience and data generation. This development in the use of technological applications, has in part been triggered by the identified changing needs and expectations of contemporary sacred site visitors, as well as their importance and role in changing the nature of the consumers expectations and the nature of the visitor’s experience.
Thus, applying these smart tourism concept in addressing the changing needs and expectations of their diverse market segment, inevitably presents operational challenges for these missionaries, who might not be conversant with the operational complexities of new technologies. Consequently, the lack of necessary capabilities in dealing with this presents a set of new challenges for the custodians of these ecclesiastical resources.
Therefore, although within the religious and pilgrimage tourism scholarship, extant literature acknowledges the use of technological mediated applications as an emerging sacred site visitor experience marketing and management tool (Enongene & Griffin, 2016; Prats, Aulet, & Vidal, 2015). Yet, there is no scholarly exploration or empirical analysis into its usefulness, as well as the challenges in utilising these technological applications towards enriching the visitors experience at sacred sites, and in the religious and pilgrimage tourism scholarship from both the consumer and managerial perspectives respectively. This therefore, represents a significant gap in literature the study seeks to fill, through an exploration of the phenomenon specifically from a managerial point of view. Crucial given the huge investments going into the use of different forms of technology as visitor management tools at these holy places.
Enongene, V. (2018). Technological Mediated Applications at Sacred Heritages: Usefulness and Challenges- A Managerial Perspective, 14th Annual Tourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland ConferenceM (THRIC2018/RIKON) Waterford, 17-19 June 2018.