World Tourism Organisation plans digital tourism initiative

World Tourism Organisation plans digital tourism initiative

Telefonica collaboration aims to improve competitiveness and long-term sustainability

Telecoms giant Telefonica is to collaborate with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to develop digital entrepreneurship and training initiatives.

The initiative aims to enable the tourism sector to increase its competitiveness and strengthen its long-term sustainability.

The agreement comes against a backdrop of “profound technological change” that impacts all industrial sectors, where a commitment to innovation and transformation is essential, the UNWTO said.

The application of new technologies such as Big Data and the Internet of Things are already leading to new uses and applications that will revolutionise services in the tourism sector and responses to new customer demands.

The new alliance “places special emphasis on jointly addressing the challenges and opportunities that this technological change entails”.

The first phase will be in effect until the end of 2020, covering four initial lines of action: digital entrepreneurship; application of new technologies in the tourism sector; digital education and training; and the development of a specific ‘digital agenda’ for the tourism industry.

UNWTO deputy secretary general Jaime Cabal said that “innovation and digital transformation are among the priorities of the World Tourism Organisation in order to provide additional impetus to tourism as an ally of sustainable development”.

He added: “Together with Telefonica we can help our more than 160 member states build their tourism innovation ecosystems and create digital tools that facilitate more efficient decision-making thanks to the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence and many other advances.”