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This article explores the foundations upon which to build innovation and further professionalise the tour guiding sector in an Italian context. It is based on a cooperation initiative started in March 2020 just at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic which proposes smart city tours as innovative, sustainable, and creative ways to (re)discover urban environments with the expected impact to make tour participants think, influence post-tour behaviour towards sustainability, and to provide a differentiated view of a visited place. The study is designed as a formative evaluation prior to introducing measures that allow further exploitation of the potential for smart city tours by looking at a set of innovation characteristics in tourist guiding, organisational aspects, marketing, and prospective demand. Results demonstrate that the foundations for introducing smart city tours are in place. The city of Bolzano in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol has extensive thematic diversity but also has experienced licensed tour guides and tour managers, who receive continuous training on innovative topics, didactics, and technologies. In terms of organisation and marketing, the research points to areas with a need for further development, and potential areas of interest for different target groups in smart city tours can be demonstrated.





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