Technology in the spotlight on World Tourism Day
This year’s World Tourism Day, examined how investment in new technology can provide the travel and tourism sector with major opportunities for innovation.
The event, which took place in Budapest on 27 September, is seen as the official celebration of global tourism, and this year focused on digital transformation in tourism, a World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) priority.
Introducing a new seminar-based format, the official celebration provided crucial insights into the actors and initiatives leading the digital transformation of the tourism sector and aimed at providing participants with concrete and actionable objectives to take away.
During the official celebration, the 20 semi-finalists of the first UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition gave pitches to investors and tourism leaders of their innovative projects with potential to disrupt the sector. They were selected from over 3,000 applicants from 132 countries.
The competition was launched by UNWTO and Spanish tourism leader Globalia to find projects that harness innovation and can change the way we travel.
Zurab Pololikashvili, the UNWTO’s secretary-general, said: “UNWTO is proud to have positioned, for the first time, tourism in the global innovation agenda – where it deserves to be because of its economic weight and importance.
“This is only possible by bringing the private and public sectors together in a meaningful way, and providing opportunities to share ideas, like we have done today.”
Pololikashvili was joined for the opening ceremony by Csaba Domotor, Hungary’s Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, and Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), who emphasized the role of technological solutions such as biometric data capture in ensuring safe, seamless and sustainable travel.
Key amongst the conference conclusions was that political support is central to putting tourism at the centre of the global innovation and digital agenda. The event harboured this sentiment, attracting the participation of ministers from several countries and high-level political representatives at all levels of government, from local to national, as well as tourism’s main entrepreneurs, investors and innovators.
Other World Tourism Day celebrations also took place worldwide, helping to mark the 38th year the observance day that has taken place to give visibility to the tourism sector’s role in international economic growth and development.
To read the WTTC’s take on World Tourism Day developments, click here.