UNWTO, Asian Development Bank Partner on Tourism Recovery Report

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have released a joint report on the use of big data for better tourism planning and management.

The report includes examples from across the Asia and Pacific region while highlighting key trends in the use of big data in tourism at the forefront of technology and innovation. The report also elucidates the role that big data can play in recovery and the measurement of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of tourism.

Tourism suffered the greatest crisis on record in 2020: International arrivals plummeted by 73 percent last year and this is likely to be followed by a 70 to 75 percent fall on 2019 levels for 2021. As the sector looks to recover, data and market intelligence are critical to empower destinations, businesses and tourism workers to be better prepared in a rapidly changing landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the shift toward digitalization, thereby highlighting the need for relevant and reliable data and intelligence to manage tourism.

The joint UNWTO and ADB report will assist governments and the private sector as they look to complement official statistics with big data so as to better understand changes in consumer behavior and to enhance recovery with targeted products, segments and source markets. Big data will also be key to supporting seamless travel via the implementation of safety protocols, biosecurity technologies and digital health certificates to enable the safe reopening of borders.

The report also highlights key challenges standing in the way of fully realizing the potential of big data and digitalization for better tourism policy. These include existing concerns over privacy, skills gaps, data reliability, inadequate governance and infrastructure, the digital divide and accessibility barriers. These challenges make clear the need for comprehensive agenda to pave the way for the effective use of big data to assist tourism recovery and its transformation toward a greener, more resilient sector. UNWTO and ADB will work jointly to ensure tourism policies across the region are aimed at establishing measurement, monitoring, and management systems and frameworks, thereby ensuring harmonized, comparable and reliable data and indicators.

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