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Self-guided tours: A new way to promote your destination sustainably



Self-guided tours are an innovative and sustainable way to give visitors a unique insight into your destination. With the use of audio narration, SmartGuide’s self-guided tours provide travelers with quality multimedia content that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace and avoid crowds. 

Are you looking for an innovative and effective way to promote your destination and engage more tourists? Your search ends here. 

What is sustainable tourism?

Sustainable tourism seeks to preserve the natural and cultural resources of a destination while still allowing visitors to enjoy and benefit from them. It involves balancing the needs of tourists with the needs of the environment and local communities, and ensuring that tourism is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable in the long term.

Sustainable tourism aims to minimize the negative impacts of tourism while maximizing the positive impacts. This includes reducing the carbon footprint of tourism activities, preserving natural resources such as water and wildlife, supporting local businesses and communities, and promoting cultural diversity and heritage. It involves responsible travel practices, including choosing eco-friendly accommodations, supporting local conservation projects, and respecting local cultures and traditions. Enter SmartGuide.

Introducing self-guided tours for sustainable tourism

One way to ensure travelers make the smallest impact possible is by offering digital self-guided tours. With the help of a digital audio guide, tourists can explore natural wonders, historical sites, and cultural hotspots guided by their own devices, without the need to move in large groups or use an environmentally unfriendly infrastructure. These types of tours not only prioritize sustainability and help reduce over-tourism but also promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of the area being visited thanks to the individual experience and approach. 

With the prevalence of mobile technology, it's easier than ever to create and distribute personalized tours for different audiences and prime their behavior in a destination. By listening to the digital audio guide, travelers can gain unique insights into the historical and cultural context of a location, all while minimizing their environmental impact. Thanks to offering a digital audio guide with self-guided tours, your destination can also help ensure tourism remains a sustainable and responsible industry.

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A seamless experience without wasting time and money on developing your own guide app solutions

DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations), tourism boards, tourist attractions, or tour operators, now can create digital self-guided tours easier than ever. With SmartGuide, a proven digital guide platform used by almost 1000 destinations worldwide, they can offer their visitors and customers a seamless, top-quality experience without wasting time and money on developing and maintaining their own guide app solutions

SmartGuide offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution for destinations, leveraging ready-built AI-powered cloud technology to deploy engaging digital guides without the need for maintenance. By eliminating paper guides, SmartGuide not only reduces waste but also minimizes visual pollution. The app's multilingual capabilities and accessibility features cater to a diverse audience, including people from different cultural backgrounds and those with visual or hearing impairments.

With stories about 100.000+ places in a single app, SmartGuide promotes responsible tourism by showcasing hidden gems and lesser-known locations, encouraging balanced visitor distribution. Its reliable cloud-based technology, automatic updates, and GDPR-compliant data protection ensure a seamless experience at a fraction of the cost of bespoke app development.

By embracing digital guiding technology, destinations, and tourism businesses can focus on what matters most: promoting themselves to the world and ensuring their guests spend as much quality time in their tourist destination as possible. 

Digital guides and self-guided touring bring lower cost, greater freedom, and reduced carbon footprint

By traveling independently and using digital guides, travelers have the flexibility to create an itinerary that aligns with their interests and time frame, all while saving money. Furthermore, self-guided tours allow people to freely immerse themselves in local cultures and embrace a sense of adventure. There is nothing better than walking on travels with your own thoughts and a personal tour guide on your phone.

Plus, traveling independently means tourists can choose sustainable modes of transportation to reduce their carbon footprint. The app's self-guided tours encourage sustainable transportation choices and distribute visitors across lesser-known regions, promoting responsible tourism.

Also, by using digital guides, travelers can eliminate the need for paper maps and brochures, reducing waste and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Essential tips for developing creative and engaging self-guided tour routes

A self-guided tour can be an exciting way for travelers to explore popular tourist destinations, however, proper preparation is key. With a little bit of research and planning, you can successfully create a digital audio guide in as little as an hour and provide unforgettable memories for your visitors along the way.

  1. Curate a diverse mix of attractions: Include both popular landmarks and hidden gems in your self-guided tours, encouraging travelers to explore lesser-known locations and experience the authentic charm of your destination.

  2. Craft immersive and compelling stories: The SmartGuide app features engaging stories that play automatically as users approach points of interest. Create captivating narratives that immerse visitors in the history, culture, and local context, turning their journey into an unforgettable adventure.

  3. Design user-friendly and accessible routes: Optimize tour routes for both outdoor and indoor use, ensuring they are easy to navigate and accessible for all travelers. With SmartGuide's offline maps, users can enjoy a self-guided tour even without internet access.

  4. Leverage multilingual text and audio: Cater to a diverse audience by providing content in multiple languages. Utilize SmartGuide's AI-based translation engine from DeepL and text-to-speech capabilities to effortlessly create multilingual guides that reach a wider range of visitors.

  5. Incorporate interactive elements and personalization: Enhance self-guided tours with interactive quests, multimedia content, and personalized recommendations. It will not only boost engagement but also create memorable experiences tailored to each traveler's interests.

By following these tips and harnessing the power of SmartGuide's intuitive content management system, you can create exceptional self-guided tour routes that captivate visitors and showcase the unique allure of your destination. You can create your digital audio guide on SmartGuide for free.

Put in the effort to create an exciting and informative digital audio guide, and let your visitors leave with a greater understanding and appreciation for your destination

Encouraging visitors to explore responsibly through education and awareness 

With every visit, we are impacting the environment and local communities. That's why promoting sustainability through education and awareness is crucial in encouraging visitors to make informed decisions about their actions and embrace mindful behavior. 

By utilizing digital audio guides, a destination can provide informative and insightful commentary about its significant places while prompting visitors to use digital instead of offline information channels. This helps neutralize visual pollution, the overproduction of printed disposable handouts for tourists, as well as excessive paper waste. 

In return, destinations can get big data insights about their visitors’ behavior and can tackle over-tourism by channeling tourists to less crowded places through specially crafted tours and content. 


Creating a digital audio guide and inspiring visitors to take self-guided tours are great ways to promote your destination sustainably.  It’s our goal at SmartGuide to make it as easy as possible for destinations and travel businesses to create engaging audio guides and self-guided tours that tell catchy stories.

By taking small steps, such as switching to digital audio guides, reducing paper and plastic waste, and respecting local customs, both destinations and tourists can contribute to a more sustainable future. 

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