Digitalisation in Tourism. In-depth analysis of challenges and opportunities

Submitted by Alina Danieles… on 22 May 2019

The study conducted by Aalborg University, Denmark was commissioned by the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) to examine the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation in tourism and analyses how these affect different stakeholder groups and how they could be addressed. The study gives as well a good overview of the needs of tourism SMEs in different parts of the EU in terms of digital skills and developing on-line services.

Drawing from a quantitative survey of 2.897 SMEs, 73 public administrations and 85 professional associations conducted in 2016 by third party consultants as well as other additional secondary data sources, qualitative interviews and scholarly research, the study identifies among these needs skills, finance, infrastructure, mentoring  support and also policy support in raising SME's awareness of new technologies.

The report presents an overview of digitalisation in tourism in Europe, analyses the key issues in tourism SME's digitalisation and how actions and support provided by public administration and professional associations respond to the challenges of SMEs and draws several recommendations:

  • Policy responses should build on the knowledge network and cluster development instigated by public authorities and professional associations. Furthermore, their continued consultation can help strategically focus digital policies to the appropriate e-business, e-commerce and e-governance needs of SMEs at local, regional and nation levels.
  • Technical assistance in the form of digital training should be targeted to different groups of SMEs including those just start to digitalise and are moving into e-business; those that are in transition to e-commerce; and those that are highly digitalised and experimenting with new technologies. This form of technical assistance also ties in with aspects of lifelong learning and the digital empowerment of the workforce.
  • Access to reliable digital infrastructure must be promoted with a focus on fostering increased levels of digital literacy. Rural areas are particularly challenged in terms of access to digital infrastructure.
  • Digital research and development should incorporate smart growth strategies to secure long term thinking and promote sustainable practices. This requires collaboration with additional industries and integrating tourismrelated activities into the wider economic value chains of a destination.

Please find attached the report for a complete reading.

The study was published on website here. © European Union, 1995-2019

Dredge, D., Phi, G., Mahadevan, R., Meehan, E. & Popescu, E.S. (2018) Digitalisation in Tourism: In-depth analysis of challenges and opportunities. Low Value procedure GRO-SME-17-C-091-A for Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) Virtual Tourism Observatory. Aalborg University, Copenhagen.

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REPORT Tourism Digitalisation 2018.pdf 1.98 MB
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