Intellectual Tourism As An Element Of Sustainable Development Of Regions


The transition to the informational stage of the development of civilization is accompanied by a number of transformations: the rapid introduction of information and communication technologies, the integration of electronic means of communication with the network nature of interaction based on the Internet, the innovative development of the economy using digitalization resources. And all this fundamentally changes the nature and algorithm of the tourism industry and the behavior of consumers who can independently form their own tourist product. The tourism intellectualization associated with digital technologies fits into the general paradigm of sustainable development of investment-attractive regions. The article makes an attempt to justify the concept of “intellectual tourism”, reveals its relation to traditional functional types of tourism and new creative forms, which makes a certain contribution to the development of the general concept of intellectual tourism. A “working” definition of the concept of “intellectual tourism” is proposed as an instrumental and technological shell of traditional types of tourism. The orientation of intellectual tourism mainly to the younger generation, predisposed to the rapid and efficient use of modern information and communication technologies for new knowledge, determines its creative nature. Skilled and talented people are at the same time consumers of “smart” tourist products. It is emphasized that the concept of intellectual tourism is one of the priority areas of the rapidly developing practice of creating “smart” cities of Russia and the world. They can become the basis for sustainable development of territories, attracting flows of people, knowledge and capital.

Keywords: Creative tourisminformation and communication technologiesintellectual tourism“smart” citysustainable development of territory


In recent decades, the Russian government has adopted a number of framework documents that determine the strategic line for the development of the state.

In 1996, a framework document “On the Concept of the Transition of the Russian Federation to Sustainable Development” was approved by the President of the Russian Federation (Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, 1996). The concept of sustainable development of mankind, first expressed by Vernadsky (1944) in his last bright article “A few words about the noosphere”, marks a new stage in the development of the biosphere - the stage of the rational regulation of relations between man and nature. In 1996, the idea of the noosphere acquired a state status.

In July 2017, the state national program “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation” was approved (Order of the Government of the Russian Federation, 2017), one of the priority areas of which is the integration of innovative technologies improving the environment of comfortable living into the urban infrastructure.

The Ministry of Construction and Housing-Communal Services developed the Smart City Project, which started in Russia in 2018 in a pilot mode, and, from 2019, became mandatory within two national projects: Housing and Urban Environment, and Digital Economy. Within the framework of the Project, the Ministry intends to systematize the existing IT solutions for creating a comfortable urban environment and develop mechanisms for their implementation throughout the country.

The cluster direction of development of individual industries and sectors of the economy is one of the priority and promising areas in the Smart City Project. Naturally, the emphasis is on intellectual and cultural tourism, an indispensable element of which is the use of advanced information and communication technologies.

Problem Statement

The introduction of the concept of “intellectual tourism” into scientific circulation is directly related to the promotion of the Smart City project in Russia from 2018. Intellectual tourism is a completely new, innovative line of activity in the field of tourism, the concept of which has yet to be developed. It is necessary to identify the basic principles and technologies of intellectual tourism, correlate it with cultural tourism, which has already become widespread in Russia. Of interest is the analysis of world experience in implementing this idea (e.g., Stankov, Lazich, & Dragich, 2010; Diaz, Blasquez, & Martin-Consuegra, 2012; Bonson, Bednarova, & Wei, 2016), as well as the examination of its implementing in the specific conditions of the Russian regions.

Research Questions

  • What is the ratio of intellectual tourism to traditional functional types of tourism?

  • Is there a connection and interdependence of intellectual tourism and the Smart City project?

  • What are the latest information and communication technologies underlying the intellectualization of the tourism industry?

  • What are the features of intellectual tourism in the context of the concept of sustainable development?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to define the concept of “intellectual tourism”, identify the connection between the concept of intellectual tourism and the Smart City project, analyze the main areas of intellectualization of the tourism sector, the mechanisms and features of its promotion in Russia, and substantiate the impact of intellectual tourism on the sustainable development of regions.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the study is dialectical logic, which gives an idea of the laws of development; general methods of scientific knowledge; a systematic approach related to the concept of an object as a holistic system, the identification of diverse types of connections of a complex object and their reduction into a single theoretical picture.


The tourism sector includes a fairly extensive typological and functional diversity of tourism (e.g., in the study of Shteingolts et al., 2014). It should be noted right away that introducing the concept of “intellectual tourism” into scientific circulation does not destroy the established structure of tourism classification, which implies a division into types (domestic, inbound, outbound), categories (national, international), functional types, determined by the purpose of the trip (medical recreational, cultural, educational, religious, business, gastronomic, sports, space, etc.), and others. Intellectual tourism can be considered as a kind of shell, an environment that allows more efficient development of any of the above types of tourism. The shell is technological and instrumental in nature.

The concepts of “shell” or “environment” can be expanded to the concept of “innovation space”. An innovation space must possess definite properties:

  • equipment with modern technical tools for working with information;

  • phased implementation of new types of information and communication technologies;

  • the provision of these technologies with appropriate software systems;

  • openness and accessibility;

  • environmental friendliness of the tourist industry.

Each region of interest to potential consumers of tourism products has its own specifics of introducing modern information and communication technologies into the tourism sector. We can distinguish the “first echelon” of areas of “intellectualization” of the industry: first of all, the development of network marketing, the creation of portals with online booking, online payments, with “smart” navigation and a “smart” guide, with integrated into the system GPS coordinates of main attractions, hotels, restaurants, shops, bus stops. Promising areas include the promotion of voice guides and programs for viewing attractions in three-dimensional virtual space. These may be local mobile apps for traveling in a specific region.

It should be emphasized that the concept of “intellectual” tourism is based on the latest generation of information technologies:

  • cloud computing;

  • big data technologies;

  • electronic control methods;

  • online-commerce;

  • Mobile Internet;

  • virtual reality;

  • Internet of things, and others.

But intellectual tourism cannot develop only through technologies.

Firstly, a sufficiently high level of development of basic, traditional types of tourism in this region, which are the core of the shell of intellectual tourism, is necessary. In other words, an intellectual superstructure is effective if it is based on the powerful foundation of the tourism industry in a particular region that has developed over many years, has large flows of tourists and brings significant profits.

Secondly, the concept of intellectual tourism can only be developed in those cities of Russia where, at the same time, a smart city program with developed mobility and a comfortable urban environment, in which the surrounding nature and architecture are in the most harmonious ratio, is being implemented at a good pace. Architecture, as a rule, should fit into the landscape design and match the look of the city as a whole. Architectural decisions are a definite ideology, brand, symbolism of the city, as well as beauty and non-standard. In November 2016, Russia launched the priority project “Formation of a comfortable urban environment” (Petrina, 2017). The impetus for the development of all the infrastructures of a smart city can be given by intellectual tourism.

At present, we can only talk about individual “point” achievements, as a rule, in the structure of individual pilot “smart” cities of Russia, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kazan and a number of cities with a well-developed tourism infrastructure.

Thirdly, in order to realize the concept of intellectual tourism, qualified and talented people are required which are mentally ready for innovations and have a high degree of responsibility. We need a team of professionals, specialists in the field of information technology, able to think quickly and off the beaten track, ready to implement the most fantastic projects. In particular, the intellectualization of tourism contributes to the emergence of new professions (professions of the future), such as, for example:

  • director of individual tours (conducting unique tours at the request of specific customers);

  • intelligent travel systems developer (development of self-planning tools for tours);

  • territory augmented reality designer (organization of excursions on a specific topic in a virtual three-dimensional space);

  • robotics concierge (management of intelligent robots, for example, in hotels: robots-wardrobes, robots-waiters, robots-assistants to the administrator, etc.).

We would like to draw attention to some characteristic features of domestic tourism. In Russia, the main focus of this area of activity is cultural tourism due to the historical and cultural potential of the country, the concentration of cultural heritage. These are historical, cultural, archeological monuments, museums, theaters, exhibitions, objects of ethnography, religious and civil architecture, centers of applied art, technical complexes and much more. All these objects are included in the structure of large historical cities of Russia, and, above all, Moscow and St. Petersburg, where the implementation of the Smart City Project began and which are best prepared to promote intellectual cultural tourism.

There are a number of trends in the development of intellectual tourism. This is, first of all, the deep integration of the travel industry and the Internet, the spread of electronic management methods and online commerce, the intensive development of portals and sites for tourists, including the introduction of local mobile applications. The work of travel agencies and tour operators will soon disappear completely. As a result, we have now the transition from mass passive tourism to individual one, with elements of active independent planning and management.

Intellectual tourism is aimed at the young generation, for them the Internet is a natural habitat, and the familiarization with complex information technologies is quick and easy. Youth tourism is creative. The term “creative tourism” even appeared (developed in the studies of foreign authors Ferrari, Adamo, & Veltri, 2008; Richards, 2010; 2011; Cheng-Wen, & Chin-Mei, 2014), which can be considered a form of modern tourism, which allows developing the creative abilities of tourists through active participation in learning the skills typical of this region.

Creative forms of tourism include, for example, the following:

  • familiarity with ethnic, national traditions (holidays, lifestyle, rituals);

  • training in craftsmanship and art;

  • organization of children's programs, which are characterized by high activity and interactivity of participants;

  • study of national cuisine, including the cooking process and food culture;

  • excursions with elements of an unconventional outlook on history (for example, the “horrors of St. Petersburg”, a journey through the roofs of the city, myths and legends of the region, etc.)

Creative tourism is a novelty of the approach, a creative solution, shock, brightness, “action games”, the quality of time spent. The main thing is not a place, but impressions and sensations, not a movement in space, but the creation of an atmosphere, environment, infrastructure that supports innovation and creativity (Florida, 2005). It should be emphasized that intellectual tourism is always creative.

The conceptual analysis allows us to develop a “working” definition of the concept of “intellectual tourism”: this is an instrumental shell that implements the latest information and communication technologies and ensures sustainable development of the region, the core under this shell being creative forms of traditional functional types of tourism.


The concept of intellectual tourism fully fits into the paradigm of sustainable development of regions, providing such basic characteristics as:

1) an increase in the innovative provision of tourism through the introduction of information and communication technologies and, as a consequence, an increase in the investment and innovative potential of the territory;

2) attracting investment in the promotion of new creative forms of intellectual tourism, as a result of which there is a transformation of the production complex of the region, taking into account the needs of the tourist services market;

3) full integration with the state program “Smart City” (Zhertovskaya & Yakimenko, 2018) in order to create a comfortable urban environment with step-by-step accessibility of services and facilities, modern transport infrastructure, organization of public spaces, etc.;

4) ensuring an active citizenship and civil responsibility for the environment: improving the ecology of the territory, preserving the cultural and ecological heritage, maintaining the biodiversity of the territory, environment friendly waste management;

5) an increase in the employment of the local population due to the development and expansion of the tourism cluster, which includes not only the tourism sector itself, but also related branches of the regional economy involved in its work (production, catering, transport, education and medicine, culture, etc.);

6) improving the quality and standard of living, ensuring stability and long-term development of the region.

The development of the concept of intellectual tourism is a many-sided process that depends on many factors (objective and subjective) and requires long-term planning strategies and development of implementation mechanisms. At the same time, not only theoretical, but, primarily, applied developments in the field of intellectual tourism can open up new approaches and areas of regional policy to ensure the sustainable development of territories, using their own resource base - cultural events, virtual teams of specialists, technical means for implementing innovative developments in tourism.


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31 December 2019

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Fikhtner*, O. A., & Salova, T. L. (2019). Intellectual Tourism As An Element Of Sustainable Development Of Regions. In I. O. Petrovna (Ed.), Project Management in the Regions of Russia, vol 77. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 942-948). Future Academy.