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The uptake of digital technologies has brought significant transformation within the EU tourism ecosystem in the last decade by disrupting tourism destinations and businesses, unlocking innovation of products and experiences, and fuelling the competitiveness and smart growth of European destinations. In the post-COVID-19 context, further advances on the digital transition are of utmost relevance as a building block to resilient EU tourism and the re-launch of the European economy over the longer term. The changing trends in tourism demand due to travel restrictions and confinement measures create an opportunity to accelerate, transform, and reshape the sector through digitalisation.

The discussions focused on how the use of data from the perspective of businesses, destinations and public authorities responsible for the management of tourism will empower the smart and sustainable recovery of tourism in the medium and long term. In particular, workshop participants explored a) the advantages data can bring to tourism destinations, businesses, local communities and travellers, b) how it can facilitate tourism management both at the destination and business level, and c) how it can improve the attractiveness of destinations and enhance the tourism experience.

The discussion was in the context of the business ecosystem for tourism data management (B2B), the availability of public sector data by businesses (government-to-business – G2B – data sharing), the use of privately-held data by tourism destination (business-to-government – B2G – data sharing), and the sharing of data between public authorities (G2G data sharing) at national, regional or local/destination level. The aim is to strengthen the common understanding of the potential benefits and challenges, and address bottlenecks in the cross-border data flow and data sharing between public and private actors.

Participants

Following an open call for expressions of interest to participate in the parallel workshops, the following organisations’ representatives have been retained.

  • Agencia Catalana de Turisme
  • Airbnb
  • Arctur
  • Association of Finnish Travel Industry
  • Austria National Tourist Office
  • Avoid-Crowds.com
  • Ayuntamiento de Málaga
  • Booking.com
  • Connemara Programmes
  • EC / EUROSTAT
  • EU Travel Tech
  • European Historic Houses
  • Expedia Group
  • Giunta Regionale della Regione Toscana
  • Grand e-nov +
  • Institute SETE
  • IRU
  • Ministry for Tourism & Consumer Protection
  • Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania
  • Ministry of Tourism
  • MODUL University Vienn
  • Motion Analytica
  • NESCTouR
    Digitalisation and Safety for Tourism Partnership
  • NESCTouR - EU Liaison Office
    Region of Tuscany
  • RegiÔtels
  • SEGITTUR
  • TCI Research
  • TUI Group
  • Turismo de Portugal
  • UNESCO Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Economic Developmet. University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • UNWTO - United Nations World Tourism Organisation
  • Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband
  • Welcome City Lab

Applicants to the workshops were asked to provide their input on the challenges, opportunities, potential actions, their timescale and actors of the “European tourism ecosystem of tomorrow”. Below you may find a selection of the received contributions.

 

Priority Opportunity/Challenge Description Timescale Action Relevant actors
Make available to users reliable and objective and robust data Challenge In a growing data world, there is still a need for a generally accepted "reference" Medium-term Further improvement of harmonised statistics across Europe Member States + tourism stakeholders in industry and governments
Innovation in tourism statistics Opportunity Make use of new technologies to collect data and of new data sources Medium-term Use of data from accommodation platforms, use of smart apps to collect data Private companies holding data
Improve timeliness of official data Challenge In a more competitive data world, it is essential to release (official) data within reasonable delays. Medium-term Agreements with national statistical offices to shorten deadlines for sending data to the Commission Member States (producers of data) and users
Coordination among publlic/public and public /private Opportunity Data is available in many sources at public and private sector level; the challenge is creating an holistic system and partnership among all players Short-term Creating of a Public/Private Sector Group on Tourism Data to operationalize this opportunity Ministries of Tourism and National Tourism Administrations; Other relevant public sector actors such as NSO, national Banks, etc, UNWTO, Data partners in the private sector, technology partners
Capacity to go from data to insights Opportunity The capacity to ask the right questions to data and create an intelligence system which is useful and relevant for the sector Short-term Creating of a group of experts to set up the data system in terms what questions; how to visualize the insights and make the action oriented - Market Intelligence Directors at the Ministries in charge of Tourism (and NTAs)
Investment in a longterm solution for tourism based data Challenge Creation of a system which is modular and can be adapted to the changing needs and opportnities of the market Short-term Investment by the EC on a Tourism Intelligence System for Europe EC, Members States, UNWTO
Data Set Integration Opportunity Integration of diferent data set collection. Medium-term Common project and data server Regions
Big Data Services Challenge Drive our destination to a smarter management Medium-term Big data plataform for benchmarking Europeen regions
A European tourism data space should be a strong priority for the Commission. It is evident that tourism operators, authorities and would significantly benefit from a greater G2B/B2G data exchange. Opportunity The data space should ensure that all operators are able to share relevant data freely without fear of having to disclose commercially sensitive information.  Medium-term Establishing a tourism data space as part of the EU’s strategic approach to the data economy. This should lead to the creating of commonly beneficial datasets, aiding the actors of the tourism sector traditional operators (such as airlines, accommodation providers and travel agencies), digital players (including platforms, OTAs and meta-search engines) and affected authorities from all levels 
Care must be taken to not jeopardize the digital development of the tourism sector by deciding on burdening obligations for the use and deployment of AI and to not remove decisive data advantage Challenge We understand and welcome the EU’s ambitions to properly regulate the digital economy, specifically the issues of platform competition, Artificial Intelligence and data sharing.  Short-term Carefully consider the impact of planned EU regulatory interventions with regard to their impact on tourism player’s ability to utilise data. As such, tourism should become a major consideration in the deliberations and Inception Impact Assessments  European Institutions, digital tourism stakeholders (OTAs, MSEs, GDSs and others)
Data holds immense potential to advance sustainability in tourism through the deployment data analysis and systems (such as Artificial Intelligence) to increase efficiencies. Opportunity Data can be used in a variety of applications, such as waste or fuel consumption reductions. The potential of data in tourism applications is immense and should be treated as such.  Long-term The EU should closely consider the important role of data in tourism not just for commercial purposes, but also sustainability. This should be reflected in a future tourism strategy and the EU’s funding for innovative sustainability projects.    European institutions, environmental NGOs, tourism operators, consumer organisations
Develop a digital tourism ecosystem Challenge Guest experience is based on services provided by different enterprises. The "communication" between these data silos is difficult. Another challenge is to get relevant context information. Short-term A digital tourism ecosystem based on an technological infrastructure, shared understanding of data schema and metadata can improve networking and interaction between enterprises and stakeholder. open data initiatives, IOT authorities, telecommunication authorities
Visitor flow management Challenge Seasonality, hotspots & landmarks provide crowding of people which leads to problems for inhabitants & visitors. Medium-term Models of vistitor flow management based on real time data and prediction models might positively influence economic value and decrease tension within the locals. Data Scientist, experts in complexity theory, Data Analysts, Service Designer
Learning platform Opportunity Sharing of role models, best practise cases, curation of relevant masterclasses & co Short-term A Europea Tourism Innovation map might give an overview about innovation & connect the people behind the projects. DMOs on national/regional level, Universities, Innovation Networks & Initiatives

 

  • A data world not solely relying on surveys but on a mixed-mode hybrid network of sources.
  • An holistic and integrated system of indicators that allows for a proper managament of tourism and support Member States. Europe leading in Tourism Powered by data .
  • EU tourism powered by Data to garantee the sustainablility of europeen destinations.
  • We strongly believe that tourism should continue to be the force for good that it is today, not only as a source of economic prosperity but also by contributing to overall well-being and by broadening people’s minds. In the future, the European tourism sector should further strengthen the positives that tourism brings for all stakeholders including travellers, tourism workers and local communities, as well as find solutions to the challenges.
  • The future of work will also effect future of leisure. The European tourism industry as learned from and implemented methods of the platform economy. Because of 5G, easy access to the internet creative work will emerge while being on holiday at the same time. Seamless travel experience based on common data standardsacross industry sectors and nations. Future crisis will be managed more effectively based on real time data. Enterprises will recover quicker because of new business processes.

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