TIS – Tourism Innovation Summit 2023 closed its fourth edition, where 7,384 industry professionals discovered the latest trends that are defining smarter, more sustainable and digital tourism. For three days, Seville, elected European Capital of Smart Tourism 2023, has become the leading epicenter of world tourism with the presence of 43 international delegations from countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, France, Portugal, Turkey, United States, China, South Africa, Norway, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, Norway, Canada, Argentina or Slovenia. The event has left an economic impact of more than 20 million euros in the city.
Under the slogan Travel revolution takes off, TIS2023 has been the scenario where the latest technological innovations and the most disruptive trends have been presented, knowledge and strategies have been shared, and synergies have been established to strengthen the competitiveness of the tourism industry.
The international meeting brought together 198 exhibiting firms such as Accenture, Amadeus, CitySightseeing Worldwide, Eurecat, Mabrian, Telefónica, CaixaBank, Convertix, PastView, T-Systems, Turijobs, UnBlock and Why Tenerife, which presented the latest solutions in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud, ChatGPT, business intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, web 3.0, cybersecurity, big data & analytics, marketing automation, GIS, contactless technology and predictive analytics, among others.
Digitization and public-private cooperation, key fields for Mexico Mexico, which received recognition as a guest country at TIS2023, was one of the great inspirations of the third day of the event. The city of Monterrey, the second largest city in the country, presented a successful model of cooperation between the public and private sectors, which has resulted in the creation of the Monterrey Tourism Cluster and the development of an innovative mobile application, Pasaporte Nuevo León.
The model, based on the so-called triple helix, promotes cooperation between government agencies, local cities (Monterrey and San Pedro), the tourism industry and university academia. This collaborative work has led to the creation of two digital projects that have revolutionized the region’s tourism sector. The first is a mobile application based on three axes: city marketing, an e-commerce model, and data analysis, as explained Jorge Vasaro, Deputy Secretary of Intelligent Tourism for the government of Nuevo León. The app allows tourists to learn about operators, activities, experiences and events in the region and, from the same platform, make reservations and purchases of these products. In this sense, Jesús Guerrero, President of the Monterrey Tourism Cluster, explained that “with this tool we have helped companies in the digitalization process, allowing them to place their products on the platform”.
Dasha is the second successful project developed by the Cluster. It is a digital dashboard that allows the visualization of the data generated by the application in an understandable way. “Data are of great value for tourism intelligence and decision-making,” Vasaro said. The representative of the government of Nuevo León has also announced that these projects are part of two larger undertakings: the creation of the first Tourism Observatory of Nuevo León, which aspires to join the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories of the World Tourism Organization; and finally, a dream yet to be realized, the creation of an Innovation Hub where competitiveness, digitization, and innovation projects of Nuevo León could be hosted.
Adapting the offer to the travel habits of each culture This year, TIS2023 was held for the first time with the full opening of tourism markets, with the opening of China’s borders to tourism earlier this year. In this context, TIS2023 showcased the most innovative practices in promoting tourism in China. Leaders and experts in the sector have focused on the need to adapt both the format and the content of the marketing actions of Spanish operators to achieve the connection with a highly digitized Chinese tourist, accustomed to finding all services on the same digital platform. In this sense, Jennifer Zhang, CEO of Asialink, has emphasized that “we are a society of mobile-only users, and since we don’t have Google, OTAs (online travel agencies) are a place to find information, inspiration, and in turn, product sales. However, it is necessary to adapt the content to the Chinese look & feel, which is very different from the Spanish one, and to offer very high-quality content, as the Chinese traveler is essentially premium”.
One of the trends that are motivating Chinese travel is the use of livestream or virtual tourism, which has been booming since the closing of borders due to COVID. Ada Xu, Regional Director for EMEA of FLIGGY, a travel and innovation platform of the Alibaba group, explained her experience with this type of product: “During the pandemic, we were the first to sell virtual travel, we wanted to maintain the link between China and Europe, through generating awareness in the minds of Chinese travelers”.
Sara Yian Zhu, Manager for China and India at LALIGA, confirmed the good reception of this type of product among the Chinese public: “For us, it is very important to experiment and talk to our fans in the language and format they expect and live broadcasts, especially starring influencers who are very successful”. Finally, Cui Li, Co-founder of Qyer, pointed out the need to target not only Generation Z but also Silver (born between 1946 and 1964), as they are highly digitized in China and are a premium sector.