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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.

Participants

Following an open call for expressions of interest to participate in the parallel workshops, the following organisations’ representatives have been retained.

  • A4E - Airlines for Europe
  • ALTA - Association of Latvian Travel Agents and Operators
  • Amadeus IT Group
  • ANEC - European consumer voice in standardisation
  • Atlandins Engineering S.A.
  • AustriaTech
  • Barcelona Turisme
  • Bratislava Tourist Board
  • Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER)
  • Croatian national tourist board
  • Czech Tourist Authority - CzechTourism
  • ENAT - European network for Accessible Tourism Asbl.
  • European Economic and Social Committee
  • European Exhibition Industry Alliance
  • European Holiday Home Association
  • European network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) asbl.
  • European Parliament
  • European Tourism Association
  • European Travel Commission
  • Exceltur
  • Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Government of Canary Islands
  • HOTREC
  • Leaseurope
  • Lund and Linnaeus Universities
  • Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection (MTCP), Government of Malta
  • Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria
  • Ministry of Tourism of Greece
  • NEST - Tourism Innovation Center
  • OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Polis Network
  • Trainline
  • WestBIC
  • WTTC - World Travel and Tourism Council

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.

 

Priority Opportunity/Challenge Description Timescale Action Relevant actors
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

 

  • The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to rethink the future of tourism; to leverage the digital transformation, respond to evolving visitor demand, and support the low carbon transition, to build a stronger, more sustainable and resilient tourism economy. As a key facilitator of tourism-led growth and sustainable development, actions to facilitate and promote seamless travel will play an important role in driving the recovery, and restoring traveller confidence and enhancing their experience.
  • The essence of tourism is travel. The current modal mix of leisure mobility is dominated by the car. A shift from high-emission towards low-emission travel is highest priority for tourism in Europe. Seamless, safe, accessible and user-friendly provision of travel info & routing services for multimodal, low-emission transport solutions across Europe is a key. It is necessary to continue to link services and actors and drive a EU-wide tourism mobility network.
  • The role of biometrics integrated with portable check-in and bag drop kiosks, security checkpoints and e-gates have the potential to transform travel and reduce the friction caused by physical touchpoints. AI applied to the entire sector could: reduce the impact of airline disruption and support decarbonisation effort, or push intelligent notifications to travellers that suggest when, where and how the traveller should travel, automatically book health checks, or organise pet care whilst away.
  • By 2040, Europe is the safest region to travel in the world in the matters of health and safety, leveraged by state of the art technology, locally developed. No real money will be used, payments are done in simple ways by the identification of the individual. Crossing boarders is as simple as just freely driving without the need of deep investigating the local rules, allowing tourists to enjoy regions and spaces unlimitedly of administrative boarders.
  • A tourism ecosystem that it is resilient and ready to face eminent risks at all times (e.g. natural disasters; epidemics; political turmoil); Touristic offer that is diverse, highly quality driven and meets clients’ needs; Clients that feel safe, are ‘eco-conscious’, are ready to use the tools of the digital era and are thrilled to enjoy the moments of pleasure the hospitality sector has to offer.

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