As we’re all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tourism to a stop. To stay relevant and support the tourism industry, those involved in the sector have been exploring options around Industry 4.0, such as automation and data sharing in manufacturing technologies. This includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing.
An example of a European country leading in Industry 4.0 is Slovenia. By using innovative co-creation and technologies from Industry 4.0, Slovenia aims to change the perception of tourism and the business sector around it. Tourism 4.0 is about to shift from a tourist-centred perspective to a tourism-centred perspective by involving local inhabitants, local authorities, tourists, services providers, and governments to create a tourism experience that is both physical and digital. In Slovenia, the Tourism 4.0 Living Lab is the first demo pilot project to bring the potential of Tourism 4.0 to the living world. Here, research is performed to determine in what ways virtual reality can help potential visitors decide which destination they should go to, and augmented reality can be used to add an extra experience to a historic place. The combination of external data (shared by other organisations), like information on the weather forecasts, is being researched to plan and book a trip with the preferred weather conditions being taken into consideration.
Currently, Tourism 4.0 faces several challenges. This includes, and are not limited, to:
- Its dependency on the readiness level of the target group in terms of skills, processes, trust, and interests;
- The quality of data that is available; and
- Stakeholders ability and willingness to share data.
These issues commonly arise in the marketing of new concepts but need to be overcome before the new paradigm can become a success. If these issues are addressed and something akin to Tourism 4.0 can be realised, there is tremendous opportunity for the tourism industry to continue thriving, even if the pandemic and lockdown continues.
Marcel van der Velpen is a consultant in the Business Data Strategy team. He has a background in economics and econometrics and enjoys using these fields to tackle social challenges. Marcel has experience in data science, data modelling, finance and actuarial science.