Med Pearls ICT Solution - Pearls Islands: a gamification ICT solution to promote Etna-Alcantara Valley, Italy


The scalability of the ICT solution "Pearls Island"enables the possibility to promote better the slow tourism products of the Sicilian pilot area of Etna-Alcantara Valley, Italy.

Pearls Island will be a gamified solution aiming at connecting the three Slow Tourism products of the Etna-Alcantara Valley Pilot Area into an integrated experience for tourists of the area, using the game design language to transform the journey, the exploration and discovery of the products into an emotional, engaging and fun experience. The ICT solution aims at integrating the complementary activities and components of the different packages provided within the three Slow Tourism products with game mechanics, dynamics and components, transforming them into an engaging adventure for individuals and groups. Thanks to the app, tourists and travellers in the Area will be encouraged to get involved in the different Products’ experiences through intrinsic rewards, social play, challenge and fun. This one is is articulated in the following components:

First a gamification tool, addressed to the involved Travel Agencies, which will let them transform their Product’s experiences into gamified experiences. A wizard on the tool will guide them to insert the components of the Products (e.g., services, products, experiences) into templates of missions, challenges, mini-games and quizzes, and to define the rewards for completing each Product’s component.

Second, a mobile application, downloadable from Apple and Google Play stores, where tourists and travellers select the activities and experiences offered within the Tourism products and get rewarded upon completion, through points, bonus or discounts for other activities and experiences. Every tourist who will become a member of the community will have levels and badges to reach based on a series of challenges to be completed, which will be designed together with Travel Agencies and local stakeholders. For each level reached, users will receive benefits (integrable in the future with tokens and NFTs) and exclusive prizes (e.g., product customization, partner discounts, in-store awards, and free services). Furthermore, the tool’s wizard will enable the involved Travel Agencies to manage autonomously the experience creation and update process.

Third, tourism service providers linked to the Slow Tourism products (e.g., accommodation services, green transportation providers, local craft shops, farms, food markets, local cultural organizations and communities) who do or can participate in the creation of  Slow Tourism experiences. They will be able to propose the integration in the Products of multiple complementary offers/experiences, thus widening the opportunities within the Tourism products and, at the same time, lowering the promotion costs of their services or products and raising the quality of the services offered to their customers.

Fourth, travellers and tourists who choose one of the target destinations and the related Slow Tourism products. In this segment, "personas" with the following common characteristics were identified: seeking emotions and experiences that are consistent in all phases of the journey, they consider travel experiences as a moment of personal growth, cultural development and an opportunity to embrace the culture, values and identity of the place;  looking for unique and inimitable stories to experience firsthand and share in their own relational circles (story making) or as a tool for new relationships.

All in all, the APP will improve the quality of customers' experiences, increase the sales of typical products, as well as the quality and quantity of tourists and consumption data (acquisition and enrichment), and increase the reputation of the Mediterranean brand. The APP will support tourists and travellers in gathering information on authentic slow tourism experiences, collected into a single user-friendly app, and the opportunities to benefit from these experiences through guided pathways made of missions, challenges and quests. In short, the solution values the following assets:

  • Etna Natural Park and Unesco site
  • Alcantara River Natural Regional Park
  • Wine Road of Etna

The gamified experiences offered to tourists and travellers through the Pearls Island APP will enhance touristic flows to the Etna and Alcantara Parks, as well as drive tourists and travellers to the Wine Road of Etna. Being these assets covered by the three Slow Tourism products, which will be gamified and transferred into the APP, users (i.e., tourists and travellers) will be driven to visit the Etna Park and the Alcantara caves, explore with flashcards all the secrets of the places in the form of cards, galleries, inspirational stories with tasting routes, and moments dedicated to social eating and street food. Moreover, the platform will be open in freemium version to all the tourism service providers related to the Slow Tourism Product, thus enhancing the increase of socially responsible and environmental-friendly opportunities, services and experiences for tourists in the area. The platform will be intuitive and easy to use: even the smallest operators will be able to add, through a simple copy/paste, texts, contents and information, flashcards to present the itinerary and points of interest and all useful information before visiting the places.

In conclusion, the purpose of Pearls Islands is to increase the availability of activities, prizes and benefits for the APP users, keeping them engaged with the APP, and ultimately increase the slow tourism offer surrounding the Slow Tourism product. The more activities the APP users complete, the more they will visit the three assets, incentivized by collecting prizes and benefits made available by the network Med Pearls.

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