Digital Futures Programme for Tourism SMEs in Europe
Date: 4th May 2023, (10:00 – 12:15 (CET))
In the eve of the European Tourism Day, taking place in Brussels on 5th May 2023, the World Tourism Organisation of the United Nations (UNWTO) presents the current opportunities for tourism stakeholders under the UNWTO’s Digital Futures Programme for SMEs, in collaboration with its strategic partners and with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).
The event offers the opportunity to reflect on the possible synergies with the European Commission’s initiatives, building on the landmark Transition Pathway for Tourism (4 February 2022)1, which identifies digital technologies, a data space for tourism and skills as central pillars of tourism’s recovery in Europe.
In order to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which make up to 85% of the tourism sector globally (OECD, 2021), UNWTO officially launched the Digital Futures for SMEs Programme in May 2022.2
UNWTO's commitment, in collaboration with its strategic partners, is to provide digital training on connectivity, business growth, e-commerce, big data and analytics, payments and security to at least 1 million beneficiaries in partnership with the largest technology companies. SMEs from across Europe are encouraged to join this programme and to undertake the Digital Diagnostic Tool to identify the path they should focus on for boosting their level of digitization.
The issues addressed by the Digital Futures for SMEs programme are fully aligned with the European Tourism Agenda 2030, adopted by the Council of the European Union in December 2022, and underpin the 2023 European Year of Skills officially announced by the European Commission. This on-line event, held back-to-back with the European Tourism Day, seeks to place digital trainings and skills-building high up on the agenda of European tourism stakeholders and policymakers.
- Raise awareness among participants from across Europe of the Digital Futures for SMEs Programme, including opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the initiative and learn from successful projects, case studies, or best practices in Europe to support SMEs with their digitalization journey.
- Present the main challenges faced by tourism SMEs in Europe, further to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the Digital Futures for SMEs Programme aims to fill the gap by offering state-of-the-art digital training on connectivity, business growth, e-commerce, among other fields, and ultimately boosting SMEs’ confidence in tackling the present challenges faced in Europe.
- In collaboration with the European Commission’s DG GROW, share ideas and brainstorm on the future, in views of common priorities and the on-line tourism stakeholder’s platform pioneered by DG GROW which is foreseen to be fully operational by 2024.
1.Transition pathway for tourism published today (europa.eu)
2. UNWTO Digital Futures | Program for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SMEs)
- UNWTO: Digital Futures Programme for Tourism SMEs in Europe
- Telefonica: Take things and data further
- Hosco: Empowering Hospitality
- European Commission: Transition pathway for tourism for data sharing and SMEs
- Amadeus: Unlocking opportunities through data insightsand impactful marketing strategies
- Prof. Alessandra Priante, Regional Director for Europe of the UNWTO
- Ms. Natalia Bayona, Director, Innovation, Education and Investment Department, UNWTO
Presentation of UNWTO’s Digital Futures Programme for SMEs by the Innovation, Education and Investment Department (IEI), UNWTO
The Transition Pathway for Tourism for data sharing and SMEs
Ms. Misa Labarile, Policy officer, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Unit GROW G1 – Tourism & Textiles, European Commission
Strategic Partners Session: Challenges and Opportunities and possible synergies with SMEs initiatives of the European Commission
Moderated by Mr. Peter Janech, Coordinator, Innovation, Education and Investments, UNWTO
- Ms. Solveig Honoré-Hatton, Senior Vice President, Government Engagement, Europe, Mastercard
- Mr. Ramon Sanchez, Head of Strategic Projects Amadeus for Destinations, Amadeus
- Mr. John Lohr, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation, Hosco
- Mr. Adrián Suárez Armas, Head of Strategic Projects, Telefónica Tech
Wrap-up and closing remarks
Prof. Alessandra Priante, Regional Director for Europe of the UNWTO