New reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Microsoft have highlighted the “transformative power” of AI (artificial intelligence) for the travel and tourism sector. The first in a series of such reports, announced during FITUR this week, called on the sector for greater integration of such technologies. WTTC adds that it is committed to driving innovation and supporting the sector to embrace AI and other cutting-edge technologies.
To promote sustainability and excellent customer experiences, WTTC acknowledges the importance of AI in revolutionizing the sector. To that point, throughout the traveler’s journey, WTTC believes AI can play a pivotal role in delivering a tailored and enhanced experience now and in the future. This technology can empower personalized recommendations and marketing strategies by analyzing traveler data, optimizing pricing strategies through real-time adjustments and offering instant responses and fine-tuned interactions via sophisticated AI-powered chatbots.
The report also highlights AI's capabilities extend to predicting future demand patterns, efficiently allocating resources and providing valuable insights for governments and travel and tourism stakeholders. This contribution can be pivotal in promoting sustainability with efficient resource management by monitoring and minimizing environmental impacts, ensuring a more responsible and sustainable sector.
According to Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, “AI is not just a technological advancement, it is a strategic tool that can personalize the customer experience, drive sustainable improvements, and create real-time pricing models.”
Despite the increasing examples of AI applications in the industry, the report reveals it still lags other consumer-facing industries in AI adoption. Challenges that must be overcome by travel and tourism businesses include a shortage of AI-skilled workers, limited AI infrastructure and the absence of a formal AI strategy in many business plans.
Amid concerns about AI's impact on jobs, the report addresses the potential for job creation, recognizing that although AI will be disruptive, it will, in turn, generate new opportunities. Additionally, WTTC says that in the quest for sustainable AI practices within the sector, responsible data management emerges as a crucial strategy. Implementing measures such as data minimization, efficient storage and responsible data disposal becomes pivotal for organizations seeking to minimize their carbon emissions when using new digital technologies and reduce their AI environmental footprint significantly.