AI Set to Shape the Future of Travel & Tourism, Says WTTC

New reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Microsoft highlight the "transformative" power of artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in shaping the future of travel and tourism. The final two reports of a series on AI from WTTC, entitled "Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI): Overview of AI Risks, Safety & Governance" and "Artificial Intelligence (AI): Global Strategies, Policies & Regulations," underscore a commitment to a digital future that prioritizes safety, ethical considerations, and responsible AI adoption.

Launched during the global tourism body’s participation at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, these reports mark significant milestones in WTTC's mission to promote innovation and excellence in customer experiences through the safe and trustworthy integration of AI.

"Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI)" delves into the potential risks associated with AI deployment and offers strategies for establishing frameworks that promote transparency, accountability and fairness. From addressing bias and discrimination to ensuring human oversight of AI systems, this report empowers organizations to harness the power of AI responsibly. In its fourth and final installment of "Artificial Intelligence (AI): Global Strategies, Policies & Regulations," WTTC provides a detailed overview of the AI ecosystem across key countries and international organizations. It shows how policymakers are navigating the AI landscape and shaping regulations and strategies to foster AI innovation while ensuring its ethical and responsible use.

To this point, Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, noted that "several major hotel groups including Iberostar are using AI to monitor and reduce food waste, which recently resulted not only in a 27 percent cost saving but prevented thousands of kilos of unwanted food going to landfill." Julie Shainock, managing director, travel, transport and logistics industry for Microsoft, added that AI can enhance the customer and employee experience and drive more efficiency in operations. "We are excited to see what the future holds as AI becomes more widely adopted to automate the more mundane tasks of travel and harness the true spirit of travel, to elevate the human experience," she said. 

Both reports underscored the urgent need for travel and tourism businesses to embrace AI as a strategic priority, investing in talent and fostering collaboration between humans and AI. But despite the sector's increasing recognition of AI's potential, challenges such as AI-skilled workforce shortages in the travel and tourism sector persist, highlighting the importance of proactive measures to overcome barriers to adoption.

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