European Tourism Day: Supporting SMEs through innovation is key in new industrial age

Juan Jesús García

Ph.D., Head of Industry Affairs

The European Union continues to be the global leader in tourism. Last year it registered over 530 million international tourist arrivals and its 7th consecutive year of growth.

However, in the new industrial age, travel and tourism in the European Union is facing an accelerated pace of economic, societal, and technological transformation. How can the EU cope with these changes and make the most of them? This was one of the questions debated at European Tourism Day in Brussels during a panel on which I had the privilege of representing Amadeus.

The aptly named digital traveler is disrupting traditional tourism services. New technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data are being adopted by travel companies to change the way they market their products and service to these travelers. As a result, innovation and value creation in tourism is changing. Consumers expect to participate in the co-creation of these services through more personalized interactions, access to transparent data, and improved connectivity.

The EU is investing heavily in empowering companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make the most of these disruptions. These start-ups and mid-caps are being encouraged to embrace digital transformation. During the debate it became evident that Amadeus and the EU share important common industry and technological views and objectives in this respect. We both work with travel agencies, airlines, hotels, destination management companies, and other travel companies to ensure that SMEs remain competitive through innovation within a fair and competitive marketplace.

Together, we both acknowledge the critical role that consumers play in the new digital travel ecosystem. We work together to ensure that consumer choice is promoted through technologically enriched access to transparent and relevant travel data. Collaboration with the EU and the industry continues to be paramount at Amadeus to ensure that the travel and tourism industry remains competitive and sustainable.