WHERE WE ARE
Since 2020 the world is upside down. The pandemic we are living is the most significant threat to our global economy and humanity, since the last financial crisis (2008/09). The latest statistics from UNWTO global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74%. According to World Tourism Barometer, the collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of USD 1.3 trillion in export revenues, more than 11 times the loss recorded during the last global economic crisis. If we analyse the Portuguese case study during the pandemic and according to the annual report from World Travel & Tourism Council, the Portuguese economy has wiped out around EUR 21 billion from the economy. The dark side of globalisation and an interdependent world, but I continue to believe that countries must continue to develop their human and technological connections to jump to the next level.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR US
Technology has played an important role in the tourism industry innovation over the past 20 years by reducing costs, enhancing efficiency, improving services and customer experience. The world didn’t stop moving at a warp speed in the IT area. One of the biggest trends identified is the DARQ TECNOLOGY (Distributed
Ledger/Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR) and Quantum Computing). The combination of the big four is the next jump to a digital revolution in the tourism experience and distribution channels. The world is moving in a such fast pace that all companies will need to adopt if not all of the four areas at least one to differentiate from the competitors and create add value to a high demanding customer that has access to all the information in the world by a single click. Can you imagine using your VR headsets to start your journey back in England and almost touching the sand in the Algarve seated in your sofa in Yorkshire or London or even walk in the hotel you want to book? The Future is not tomorrow is now! In 2019 one of the biggest tour operators in the world was already starting a trial phase with XR (extended reality) to allow customers to individually explore cities and places of interest in Spain – Mallorca. We can imagine a lot of solutions not only for the end customer but also at a B2B level, but we need to be aware that not all of the four big areas are
developed at the same level at the moment, but a new era of immersive experiences is arriving.
We can almost touch our future!
By André Oliveira – DOSM from Ontravel Solutions