Tourism 4.0

Conference: Current trends in tourism: sustainability, digitalization, increased business resilience and destinations

The micro-conference on Current Trends in Tourism, which took place on 2.11.2023 as a side event of the GO Regiontour fair in the Brno Exhibition Centre, focused on the topics of sustainability, digitalization in tourism, greater resilience of businesses and destinations and their intersection. Data is key to any informed decision, and this also applies to the area of sustainability and improving the resilience of tourism businesses, communities and entire tourism-affected areas and regions.

All the presenters touched on these topics in some way and the context of all the presentations made it clear how complex and strongly interconnected the system is.

Jan Orava from the DIH Tourism 4.0 institute highlighted the mission of digital innovation hubs in supporting the digitisation of tourism businesses and gave examples of sources from which SMEs can draw funds for their development in this area. He presented two specific examples funded by the DigiTour project, which draws funding for individual businesses from the European COSME programme. These were the use of the global marketing platform with its extensive distribution network to promote and develop a small destination in the Jevíč region and the integration of digital loyalty and customer cards in the Hostýnsko region.

Marcos Moschovidis from the Austrian DIO – Data Intelligence Offensive presented the activities of this organization in the field of data projects and the implementation of Data Space not only in the field of tourism in Austria. Using the Climate Cockpit project as an example, he presented a tool for developing strategies to respond to climate change. In Austria, tourism stakeholders are urgently aware of the extent of the threat to both financial and social stability posed by climate change. It is threatening traditional tourist destinations with implications for the environment, the tourism industry, local communities, demographics and GDP.

Petr Moc and Matěj Brnka from CzechTourism introduced the audience to the agency’s strategy in the field of digitalization and current projects. They focused mainly on the development of the and web portals, their connection with third-party data sources and support for startups. They also mentioned the use of artificial intelligence in automatic content processing, which is currently in the experimental phase.

Ondřej Mirovský from the company PowerHub introduced the audience to the issue of ESG (environmental, social and governance). ESG is very well explained in the tourism industry. Although over 99% of companies in the tourism industry are SMEs, which are not directly affected by the introduction of ESG audits, these companies need to prepare for the audits, because it is highly likely that many of them will be asked about this topic by their customers. In order for tourism to get the most out of the ESA legislation, it is essential that the implementation of these audits is not just formal, but that businesses are aware of how they approach and communicate social and environmental issues and how they can capitalise on correct and ‘green’ approaches.

In the final summary, led by Luděk Kühr from DIH Tourism 4.0, the audience learned basic information about the challenges in working with data, which are the basis for digitalization in general. Thanks to more than a year of work in the DATES -Data Space for Tourism project, he had the opportunity to participate directly in the development of a strategy for data and its secure sharing across industries across Europe and specifically in tourism. During this time, the concept of data spaces has evolved from very hard to grasp policy statements and technical declarations to practically applicable solutions, implemented projects and partnerships that build the future of individual regions and the entire industry on data spaces. In conclusion, Luděk expressed his wish that the Czech Republic would join this movement before it “misses the train”.