Tourism has experienced numerous crises throughout history, although none compared to the current one, which is becoming increasingly long and complicated. This prompts professionals and academics in the sector to ask themselves, how can tourism be saved?
The answer to this question could lie in the renovation. If the historical context is used, the philosopher and writer Miguel de Unamuno promulgated that “progress consists in renewing oneself.” This phrase later gave way to the expression “renew or die” and this 20th century saying may be more valid than ever today.
Technological transformation of tourism
Tourism activity will return but, for this, the technological transformation of the sector is needed. Thanks to technology, this industry has had a great capacity for innovation. However, change has now become a necessity for consumers and organizations. Currently the client has a large volume of information, which requires the personalization of the services received.
Advances in technology have changed the way people travel. In addition, the importance of the traveler experience has increased. Hence, it must be improved both at the destination and throughout the value chain. That is, from the moment you look for information until you enjoy your trip or activity. This makes tourist destinations and organizations of various sizes consider the importance of technology. In this sense, digital transformation is key to the survival and development of its activities.
Tourism intelligence, digital transformation and sustainability: keys to the future
The biggest challenge for the tourism sector is defining how it will reinvent itself to adapt and evolve. For this, it is important to implement tourism intelligence and big data systems that help organizations better understand the situations.
The use of these tools provides indicators that enrich decision-making. These instruments make it possible to measure the most effective activities and encourage continuous analysis of the context. Tourist intelligence could be summarized in the understanding of the traveler and his needs. In addition, it places the consumer at the center of operations to ensure that their user experience is satisfactory.
The second trend is the acceleration of digital transformation, through the adoption of smart technologies. Tools such as live streaming eCommerce; that is, taking advantage of live transmissions over the internet through social networks to promote themselves or sell products and services, could allow tourism companies to promote the electronic commerce of their products. The great advantage of this innovation is that communication is two-way and interactive.
New technologies will increase the use of virtual reality (accelerated by the implementation of 5G) and artificial intelligence. At the same time, the use of sensors, the internet of things, contactless technology or biometrics is expanding. These smart technologies have played a fundamental role in the competitiveness of organizations. At the same time, they have meant an improvement in the experience of tourists with an increase in the value received.
The third tool linked to the renewal of the sector is sustainability. In Costa Rica, the Government is designing a sustainable tourism strategy with which, between now and 2030, it will promote the three pillars of sustainability: socio-economic, environmental and territorial.
On the other hand, a network of smart tourist destinations is being developed. They arise from the need to offer the tourist differential and highly competitive services. Thus, technology becomes the basis for a change that adds value to the market. Destinations are based on compliance with five parameters:
Optimism in tourism recovery
To promote the recovery of the sector, the State has developed the Plan for the Modernization and Competitiveness of the Tourism Sector, which has an investment of both public and private capital.
The plan includes six areas:
The transformation of the tourism model towards sustainability.
The modernization of the tourism ecosystem.
The commitment to digitization.
The tourism resilience strategy for extrapeninsular territories
Special actions in the field of competitiveness.
Strict technological health and safety protocols implemented that increase confidence in travel.