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Semantic Web and e-Tourism: Investigating opportunities and downfalls of applying Semantic Web technology in e-tourism

Student name: 
Katharina Siorpaes

Tourism has become increasingly important as an economic factor in many countries. The reason for the enormous impact of the emergence of the Web on this industry is that it is an information-dominated industry. Consumers increasingly favor the Web over travel agents for information gathering and transaction making. The communication between supply side and demand side is often hampered by limitations of current Web technology: suppliers face fierce competition and need to find new distribution channels; consumers are overloaded with information and have a hard time when searching for vacation components, such as transport, lodging, and activities, in order to plan a holiday. Current applications have difficulties to deal with heterogeneous data and many distributed small pieces of information. The Semantic Web has the potential to solve current downfalls by including implicit facts and aggregating information pieces into one new piece of information, which will elevate e-tourism to a new level. This thesis investigates the opportunities and downfalls of applying Semantic Web technology in e-tourism. In this document, we examine how the semantic annotation of Web sites and ontology storage and retrieval support for a portal can be achieved from both the technical as well as the economic point of view.