FORST asks IT for tourism help

Wanted: academically-minded information technologists. For: insights into how e-commerce and IT could 'radically change' the face of one of the country's biggest foreign exchange earners, the tourism industry.

Wanted: academically minded information technologists. For: insights into how e-commerce and IT could “radically change” the face of one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners, the tourism industry.

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has included the call for IT specialists with an academic research background in a tender for a research project worth $310,000.

But IT chiefs need not apply if they have a product to push. FORST spokespeople say tenders will only be accepted from those in collaboration with a recognised research house or team – such as universities, crown research institutes, a private organisation or a specialist business – with a chartable history in the research field.

FORST says the grant, meant to span a two- to four-year project, is for pure research with no pre-requisite for a commercial outcome.

FORST makes it clear it is not looking for "incremental" and "obvious" adoptions of technology that are limited to increasing efficiency, but for technology likely to lead to “major step-wise gains in economic performance” and which would radically change the way the industry does business. It says the technology is likely to be some never before applied to that industry, but from other sectors.

The second part of the study looks at integrating ecological, economic, social, cultural factors and Maori perspectives.

Information-based industries such as tourism, health and airlines have been highlighted by many as some of the first industries that could greatly improved by e-commerce. FORST points out the tourism and travel industries stand to achieve “substantial enhancements in performance, including better yield management”. The tourism industry is estimated to be made up of a number of corporates and 13,500 small and medium-sized businesses.

FORST is a funding body for research and development and scientific services that fall within the definition of “public good” and assists businesses with R&D through grants and the Technology New Zealand scheme.

Expressions of interest in the tender close on March 28.

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