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Tourism Trends Toward a Digital Marketplace in Post-Pandemic Era

Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 12:45

KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 29, 2021:  Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says that since the pandemic began, travel and tourism enterprises across the world have been leveraging Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to enhance a plethora of services.  He notes that the trend towards a digital marketplace in the tourism sector is poised to intensify post-COVID-19. 

The Minister made this announcement yesterday during the 36th Annual CANTO Conference and Trade Exhibition.

“The pandemic has taught us that organizations that fail to successfully incorporate digital technologies into their business models will likely fail in their quest to ensure adaptability, agility and competitiveness in the post-COVID-19 era. The ability of players in the global tourism sector to adapt to the impact of the pandemic has been undoubtedly aided by digital technologies,” said Bartlett.

“Overall, the trend towards a digital marketplace in the tourism sector is also poised to intensify post-COVID-19,” he added.

He projects that based on this trend, most travel and tourism-related business, including destination research, booking, and paying for experiences during a vacation, will be done virtually.  

“The trend thus instructs all tourism enterprises, micro, small, medium-sized and large, to find ways to embrace digital technologies, and develop their digital architectures or face the risk of being left behind,” said Mr. Bartlett.

The Minister shared that data he received shows that since the pandemic began, travel and tourism enterprises across the world have been leveraging ICTs to improve almost all areas of the hospitality industry, such as guest services, reservations, food and beverage management, sales, food service catering, maintenance, security, and hospitality accounting.

Businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry have rolled out several information-based digital innovations to facilitate service delivery in a quick, convenient, and safe manner.

These include the use of mobile apps to enable customers to book reservations, check-in, order and pay for services using their devices; the use of a digital workforce, including chatbots that provide pre-determined answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and live chat with on-property staff and the use of digital keys through in-app features that enable guests to unlock their hotel rooms by tapping their mobile devices.

“As more tourism enterprises around the world begin to reopen, fewer resources will be available, and a new operating model to minimize contact will need to be considered and deployed.  AI and smart technologies can be leveraged to quickly rewire the current physical interfaces to touch-free, gesture-based, or voice-activated interfaces,” said the Minister.

“Consequently, artificial intelligence will be increasingly used to enhance a plethora of services in the hotel industry including fleet and operations management, disruption management, customer service and retention and autonomous machines and services,” he added.

Held virtually for the first time in thirty-five years, the 36th Annual CANTO Conference and Trade Exhibition, the Caribbean’s premier telecommunications forum; will give delegates from across the globe, the opportunity to connect with each other at this stimulating conference.