German Tourism Award for Bay of Lübeck
A digital visitor guidance system by the Lübeck Bay Tourism Agency (TALB) and the St. Peter-Ording Tourism Centre scooped two German Tourism Awards on Monday (December 14, 2020). The pilot project tells visitors about any crowded beaches, points out free parking spaces and whether corona-related social distancing rules can be observed. The project also won the second jury prize and the audience award. Authorities in the Bay of Lübeck have been working on visitor guidance to improve the use of its beaches since 2018.
Cameras and sensors gauging visitor volumes
The Bay of Lübeck and St. Peter-Ording use cameras and sensors to gauge the number of visitors to the hotspots. The data is collected anonymously on open data bases. A digital traffic light system helps direct the flow of visitors. The respective traffic light colour shows users on their end device whether beach access is still possible, for instance, and where less frequented locations can be found. The occupancy rate of the beaches can be tracked using the so-called "beach ticker".
"The Bay of Lübeck is a popular holiday and excursion destination. It is easy to reach and many people like our Baltic Sea lifestyle. That's why some beaches are very busy in the summer, but not all of them. There is often plenty of space on other beaches when the hotspots are very busy," said Paul Stellmacher, Deputy Board Member and Director of Online Marketing at TALB.
Jury and audience convinced
The result-orientated collaboration between TALB and the St. Peter-Ording Tourism Centre, the open data approach, the practical benefits and ease of use for visitors were deserving of second prize, the jury said. The overall package consisting of good technology, communication and rapid mass implementation sets a great best practice example for other tourist regions. More than half of approximately 10,000 users voted online on the winner of the audience award and chose the project.
Relevance in corona era
The visitor guidance system became particularly relevant due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated social distancing regulations in 2020. A beach ticker system was launched in summer 2019 to stem overcrowding on beaches in the Bay of Lübeck. "This crisis has shown us once again that we can only work hand in hand and together. The beach ticker is an absolute team success," said Bettina Schäfer, Mayor of Scharbeutz and André Rosinski, CEO of TALB.
Expansion of system
Plans are being laid to expand the system in 2021. Data on occupancy and weather will help improve forecasts and facilitate more forward-looking planning for guests and residents. A link with other databases containing weather data or traffic information and expanded open data interfaces are also planned. Other destinations could also be connected to the system. "There is immense interest from other places and regions. We will gladly share our experiences," said Rosinski.
Bay of Lübeck
The Lübeck Bay Tourism Agency was founded in 2012 by the municipalities of Scharbeutz, Neustadt in Holstein and Sierksdorf to position them nationally and internationally as a brand under the auspices of the "Lübecker Bucht".
German Tourism Award
The annual German Tourism Award is presented to forward-looking products and projects in German tourism. This year, the German Tourism Association (DTV) sought concrete means of securing people's businesses, supporting others and readjusting business models given the at times devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A jury of 22 tourism experts and media representatives selected the nominees according to the extent of innovation, quality and customer orientation, economic efficiency and sustainability.