Digital transformation in travel has been propelled by the pandemic, with travel businesses investing in safe and seamless tech in the short term for the restart. While technologies like AI are beginning to be deployed to tackle the current challenges faced by destinations and local communities like over-tourism and visitor dispersal. Next gen game changers like 6G are still on the horizon offering truly immersive travel experiences and new ways to solve the climate emergency.
Digital transformation has picked up speed, caused by the pandemic, creating disruption to consumers’ lives and being the only space at times for them to connect, shop, dream of travelling and socialise. Travel businesses have responded by ramping up digital and IT investment and deployment, particularly to improve the customer journey.
As part of the pandemic response, governments and international organisations like IATA and the EU have rolled out digital health schemes in line with mass vaccinations. However, challenges remain including interoperability and non-discrimination of the unvaccinated.
AI with biometrics has been a major boon for travel businesses, and the potential of AI which ranges from data analytics, machine learning and deep learning to neural networks is enormous. For now, the focus for AI is firmly fixed on creating a safe, seamless and secure environment, while transitioning more to daily tasks and tackling major pain points.
Next-generation technology is already being created and tested, including breakthroughs in sustainable aviation fuel and electric/hybrid aircraft to help reduce travel and tourism’s carbon footprint. Innovation is critical if the sector is to meet the self-regulated targets of CORSIA as well as the 1.5°C pathway for net zero emissions by 2050.
Pioneers in sustainable travel such as Intrepid are going one step beyond their B Corp status to embrace science-based targets, which ensures that they are fully aligned with the very latest thinking on climate change and on track for the long-term goal of net zero.
With 5G not fully up and running yet, work has begun by the likes of China, the US and Europe on 6G and its potential capabilities. Tech omnipresence will usher in an era of hyperconnectivity and offer consumers truly immersive experiences.
Advances in AI and wireless speeds will provide humanity ways to solve challenges like the climate emergency, poverty and urbanisation. Technology should be the means to a purposeful end for all stakeholders across the travel and tourism value chain.
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