Marco Polo, an innovative system for the promotion of the small enterprises trough
3. The Marco Polo System: an innovative system for the promotion of the small enterprises trough tourism
3.1 The importance of cooperation
The tourism industry is dominated by a large number of small enterprises that create the basis for the local development as they can positively impact on the induced sectors.
The DG Enterprises  stimulate networking and collaboration among the value chain in tourism activities as networking can strengthen each other’s products and make the tourist offer more effective, for example raising the quality of service provision.
In other innovative or knowledge based economy, networking and cluster are set and tourism should follow those examples. “ … networking does not necessarily mean the creation of formal network structures; it can also be enhanced by providing the technical tools to interact through internet or other forms of (virtual) communication)”.
OECD  proposes alight intervention of the public to enhance the cooperation of SME for the exploiting of tourism industry and induced
sectors or an innovative policy for networks and clusters as they are considered a key element of success for SMEs in tourism.
3.2 The revolution of ICT on tourism
The internet and the new information and communication technologies surely created new opportunities for SME in the tourism sector and in the induced industries but it is necessary to point out that some changes (especially in the distribution channels) were made and operators must be aware of it.
The internet introduced new behaviours and process for the tourist holiday planning and, sometimes, shortened the distribution chain.
By the other side, ICT allow the producers of tourism related products  and services to bypass the intermediary/tourist enterprise and reach directly the customer/tourist.
Mostly, as urged by several, the importance of innovation is the basis of the development of product and services and, consequently, the success of enterprises.
3.3 The Marco Polo System
The Marco Polo is a system aimed to enhance the promotional efforts of a tourist destination and to improve tourist enterprises and local products sales.
The system is composed by the following tools:
● a multimedia portal;
● a paper magazine;
● 3G mobile applications.
Individual tourist demands to be provided with updated genuine and detailed information about a destination, its natural and cultural resources, the leisure offer, events, amusements alongside with guaranteed information for accommodation, services and local productions.
At the same time tourists cannot totally enjoy of the destination and its attractions because of the “information asymmetry” that is the lack of information compared with a resident. Based on a detailed market research and a consequent web profiling, the user of the web portal will be provided with customised and detailed information that will allow him to build up his own trip.
Surfing the web portal, the user will be provided with genuine information about events and other amusements coherent with his expectations in order to set up a programme during the permanence in the territory.
A quarterly paper magazine will be provided to the tourist during his trip and will be delivered for free by the hospitality enterprises, the agencies, local tourist offices or can be purchased in the newsstands.
The mobile portal will provide the users with updated on-demand information and additional tips via MMS in order to allow a the tourist to enjoy completely his vacation.
The system also include a call center that will support constantly the tourist for information and details.
The main challenge is to provide the tourist with genuine and detailed information in order to guarantee him for the quality of goods and services supplied.
This will be achieved by the means of the protocols of production.
Every enterprises promoted by the system must adopt defined protocols of production that describes how the service must be provided or the goods must be produced and supplied in order to reach the top of the quality. Only the enterprises that meets all the requirements will be included and promoted and will be provided with a label that will allow tourist to recognize them.
A set of controls along with feedbacks from the users will be implemented in order to assure and guarantee the tourist.
The fulcrum of Marco Polo is the editorial staff that will be characterised by an internal staff that will manage all the information system and elaborate the news and contents.
Graph 4 The Marco Polo System
An external and diffused editorial staff will operate in-field, manage the relationship with the local enterprises, service providers and local tourist offices and upload additional information and multimedia contents.
This should allow to provide the portals and the internal staff with more information that can be processed to complete the contents of the web portals.
From the enterprises side, all of them will be provided with a CRS (Centre Reservation System) that contains a complete data base of solutions, fares and availability to make every reservation easy and friendly for the users.
A section of the portal is dedicated to the e-commerce of local productions in order to allow the tourist to re-experience from home buying local gastronomic products or craftmade goods.
The Marco Polo System was designed to comply with the development of sustainable tourism of a destination along with the call for partnership among private and public bodies, using all the most innovative ICT tools to satisfy the expectation of the target tourists.