The workshop focused on key issues as well as emerging and future trends concerning a safe and seamless experience for tourists and travellers.
During 2020, business, leisure, and ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ tourism have been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in habits and aspirations are obliging private and public actors in the tourism ecosystem to reconsider the services to offer and how to produce them, in order to respond to emerging consumer needs.
Seamless travel is “the provision of a smooth, efficient, safe, secure, and enjoyable travel experience from a traveller’s point of origin to a destination, within the destination, and back again.” Pre-COVID safe and seamless tourism efforts aimed to ensure the security and smooth management of travel flows, the attraction of a larger share of High-Value Travellers at destinations, and the dispersion of travellers’ flows to mitigate their environmental and social footprint. Key EU policy areas of seamless travel have revolved around visas, digital traveller identity and biometrics, multimodal transport and connectivity and visitor handling, information, and management. Moreover, prior actions on safe tourism experience at destination revolved around monitoring tourism-associated risks, adopting preventive measures, facilitating assistance to visitors, and developing contactless services or services empowering consumer choice and preferences.
Following an open call for expressions of interest to participate in the parallel workshops, the following organisations’ representatives have been retained.
Applicants to the workshops were asked to provide their input on the challenges, opportunities, potential actions, their timescale and actors of the "European tourism ecosystem of tomorrow". Below you may find a selection of the received contributions.
|Utilise digital identity and biometrics to provide efficient and seamless identity-checking||Opportunity||This can save time and improve the traveller experience as well as increasing traveller safety and security.||Medium-term||Promote the use of digital traveller identity and biometrics (respecting agreed data privacy standards and principles), through global cooperation between governments and international bodies, and enabling interoperability between different systems.||Ministries of tourism, interior, transport, private sector|
|Provide easily accessible, regular, and reliable transport options for visitors in a destination,||Opportunity||Provide travellers with a safe and enjoyable experience, and deliver a range of benefits to the destination.||Medium-term||Coordinate transport and tourism planning and operations in the provision of seamless multi-modal links that benefit visitors and residents, and improve destination connectivity and sustainability.||Ministries of tourism, transport, private sector|
|The utilisation and delivery of smart information and other services||Opportunity||Make journeys easier and smoother for travellers and to assist in visitor management.||Medium-term||Encourage and support the provision of real-time information and other assistance to travellers, including those with special needs, to facilitate their journeys and enhance their experience, through the creative use of new technologies.||Ministries of tourism, transport, private sector|
|Enable seamless and safe travel across Europe by using multimodal, transnational & low-carbon mobility solutions.||Opportunity||Due to dir. 2010/40/EU EU countries must introduce intelligent, low-emission & connected transport services & travel information services. Multilateral cooperation & implementation are the challenge||Medium-term||Strong cooperation among states, transnational transportation providers and relevant actors. Joint projects and approaches to work on technical and regulative solutions to enable seamless, transnational, multimodal travel in the EU.||Key players are transport providers, travel information providers, regulative bodies, relevant actors on local levels|
|Europe-wide travel information data exchange. Which is the foundation for seamless and safe tourism mobility.||Opportunity||The exchange of data is limited by different data formats, communication processes & by missing cooperation among actors. The joint Spirit to link services and work together needs to be strengthened.||Medium-term||Exchange of travel information and linking of services to enable a Europe-wide, transnational and multimodal tourism mobility network (e.g. LinkingDanube, LinkingAlps, OJP4Danube)||Key players are transport providers, travel information providers, relevant local partners and authorities on all level|
|To support the travel industry and respond to consumers’ demands by prioritising touchless travel across the whole of the value chain through adequate funding and regulation.||Opportunity||Restore travellers’ confidence by offering contactless travel, make trip cycle more efficient, safer and more seamless through the enhanced operational efficiency of the transport and travel companies||Medium-term||Implement full eID interoperability for the purpose of contactless travel by setting-up an EU wide solution for traveller identity, strengthen the European Digital ID (eIDAS) ecosystem applicable to travel and realize a conducive regulatory framework||Industry European Commission Member States|
|Make the tourism innovation ecosystem more resilient by enhancing the technological sovereignty of the EU and prioritising EU Cloud Federation initiatives||Opportunity||Enhance the operational efficiency of travel and tourism innovation ecosystems through the application of Cloud Computing (e.g. GAIA-X) to provide greater value to travel companies and travellers.||Long-term||Accelerate and increase funding in EU Cloud Federation initiatives (such as GAIA-X) targeting applications that help streamline and make the tourism sector more sustainable and efficient||Industry European Commission|
|Enhance the technical sovereignty of the EU by promoting digital solutions that showcase the EU as a safe travel and tourism destination and improve its resilience.||Opportunity||Identify and address traveller concerns and respond to these with innovative travel solutions. A more digitised travel experience will reduce stress and encourage consumer confidence in travel again.||Long-term||Accelerate the level of investment in strategic technologies to strengthen EU industrial development. Increase funding in AI projects to make transport and travel ecosystem more resilient, more operationally efficient, more consumer oriented.||Industry European Commission Member States|
|Safety and Security||Challenge||Technology as best partner for geographic and POIs tourists distribution, crowd control, waiting lines avoidance, further securing health by controling risks and chains of transmission||Short-term||Open Innovation Events to match the industry gaps by inviting entrepenerus / startups||DIHs, Tech Centers, Startups, Public Admin|
|Boarderless Mobility||Opportunity||The Euro and free movement of people is an oppotunity to be further extent into common tourism services and products. One stop shop for Tourist ID, travel cards for multiple cities, EU apps.||Medium-term||One common integrated system to transit roads and motorways accross countries, with online payments and burden free||Public admin, transport and mobility associations and companies|
|Seamless payments||Challenge||EU as a free of real money space, simplifying transaction, reducing waiting times, reducing robberies, increasing security for tourists||Medium-term||Extend own device ways of payment, very common in Scandinavia for all Europe, thus reducing the use of notes and coins.||Public admin, banks, techs into transactions and payments|
|Safe environment for employees and customers led by bottom-up initiatives||Opportunity||Via health and safety protocols and best practices developed by companies, bring customer's confidence back||Medium-term||Share best practices at EU level||EU institutions; public and local authorities and services; national tourism boards; companies; consumers|
|Coordination between Member States on border controls||Challenge||Despite the coordinated approach issued by the Commission on borders, Member States issued unilateral measures that bring disruption to travel expectations and organisation of travel plans||Medium-term||Member States to swiftly adopt the Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on harmonisation of borders||EU institutions; Member States|
|Skilled workforce to reply to customer's needs||Challenge||The hospitality sector is lacking skills (digital, green, interpersonal)||Long-term||Member States to include in their recovery packages financing to up-skill and re-skill the workforce||EU institutions; Member States; national tourism boards, companies; workforce|