High Tech versus High Touch:
Visitor Responses to the Use of Technology in Tourist Attractions

Pierre Benckendorff, Gianna Moscardo & Laurie Murphy

There are a number of current debates in the academic and management literature about the benefits and costs of introducing technology into tourist experiences. The debate is an important one for those who manage tourist attractions when making decisions about which directions to take in the development of visitor experiences. A review of the relevant literature in tourism suggests that very little attention has been paid to tourists' perceptions of, and interest in, the use of technology to create and enhance their experiences. This study sought to address this gap by surveying visitors to an Australian aquarium and asking them about their support for the adoption of various different forms of exhibits. The results indicated that tourists can be grouped according to their support for the use of technology in visitor experiences and their levels of use of technology in general. A general model of tourist technology adoption is proposed and explored and implications of the results are discussed both for tourist attraction management and for future research into this phenomenon.

Key words: cybertourism, high touch/high tech, attractions, market segments

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