The core of Travel Guides system is in the tourism ontologies:
  • The World ontology defines concepts and relations from the real world: geographical terms, locations, time and date, currency, languages, and all other concepts that are in a way related to tourism, but not to vacation packages that could be offered by tourist agencies. Since Travel Guides is intended to support semantic annotation, indexing, and retrieval of documents in the area of tourism, this ontology is also meant to contain the general concepts necessary for expression of semantic annotation, indexing, and retrieval. We use PROTON Upper Module ontology and the extracted knowledge base from KIM that contains locations, people, and other similar instances.
  • The User ontology describes user interests and activities, age groups, favorite travel company, and other data about different user profiles. Each user can have one or more user profiles, depending on his/her behavior while visiting the portal, and also depending on the data he has provided to the system. We extended the PROTON Knowledge management module with domain-related concepts and relations to create the User ontology.
  • Travel ontology is an extension of the World ontology i.e. the PROTON Upper Module ontology. It contains the concepts related to vacation packages, types of vacations, and traveller types w.r.t. various tourist destinations. It includes all terms being specific to vacation packages offered in tourist agencies and being important for travellers, such as the type of accommodation, food service type, transport service, room types in a hotel, and the like. It is an ontology that makes an indirect connection between users and destinations. This is accomplished by creating user profiles for the users, and determining the type of destination for each vacation package. Finally, certain user profiles are linked to appropriate destination types.
Ontologies enable semantic description of data and more importantly - reasoning. Specifically, in Travel Guides system, ontologies enable inferring user profile types based on user interests and activities. Likely, destination types are inferred based on the destinations data. During process of search, the destination types are matched with the relevant user profiles. Searching for a perfect destination in Travel Guides is performed using a very simple form that is part of the Travel Guides environment. Query language that is used behind is SPARQL - which recently became a recommendation query language by W3C for semantic search.