Exploit the opportunities presented by digitalisation

Consumer behaviour has been changing for several years now on both the supply and demand sides. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a decisive impact on how consumers act. The pandemic has therefore accelerated the fundamental change in thinking and action that tourism already needed to make, and created significant challenges for the industry. At the same time digitalisation is a driver and enabler, and therefore offers great opportunities. It provides a basis for new tourism products, services, business processes and models, for example.

In view of the small business structure of the Swiss tourism sector, many service providers and destinations will find it difficult to meet new requirements and keep up with technological change. Connectivity is key here. To keep pace with the international market, individual company-based innovations are required alongside novel, cooperative approaches at regional to national level.

Ultimately, primary responsibility for the digital transformation lies with the tourism companies themselves. Through targeted activities, the federal government nonetheless has a crucial role to play here. In the light of experience and work to date, the ‘Exploit the opportunities presented by the digital economy’ objective is to be achieved through the following three action items in particular:

Action Item 10 : Advance the digital transformation and knowledge transfer

The Federal Government’s Tourism Strategy will continue to emphasise digitalisation in the project funding it offers and where knowledge transfer is concerned. That said, certain adjustments must be made to the financing provided via Innotour and the NRP.

Where the digital transformation is concerned, financial support is to be limited essentially to projects with a broad scope of application and open, forward- looking solutions that facilitate cooperation. Collaborative projects will be given particular attention.

In parallel with financing for digitalisation solutions, effort should be put into improving users’ awareness of and expertise with these very solutions. Knowledge transfer is an important aspect of this action item alongside project funding. Regular access to the latest information about digital solutions and applications – and their strategic potential – must be improved across the board.

Action Item 11: Generate value added from the use of data and statistics

Over the next few years, the priority for tourist data and statistics should be to generate value added. Public information should be made available as quickly as possible in a format that is of maximum benefit to users. Accommodation-related statistics (HESTA and PASTA) and the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) that are also produced by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), are of particular interest. Switzerland Tourism’s open data approach plays an important part in fulfilling this action item, because it enables Switzerland Tourism to provide data to interested partners, and therefore increase the value generated by its use. Furthermore, Switzerland Tourism is an active member of the Swiss Tourism Data Alliance (STDA), which was set up to further the exchange of relevant data between tourism organisations. One of areas of focus is coordinating the way in which tourist data is structured to ensure interoperability.

Action Item 12: Ensure that strategic digitalisation issues are monitored

The digital transformation remains a highly complex process, and issues such as data, data availability, new technologies, and processes such as blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence are all strategically relevant. It is therefore crucial to monitor and analyse these developments to ensure that they are given sufficient attention. Monitoring activities should deliver relevant information not only for the Federal Government’s Tourism Policy and tourism promotion, but also for actors in the sector. Open processes and an open dialogue should ensure ongoing discussion with the tourism industry.


Progress Report Digitalisation in Swiss Tourism

In August 2021, the report "Progress Report Digitalisation in Swiss Tourism" was published on the state of the art of digitalisation in Swiss tourism. The study not only looked at the status quo, but also formulated recommendations for action against the background of future developments.

Digitalisation in Swiss Tourism: Opportunities, Challenges, Implications

SECO launched a digitalisation offensive in tourism in 2017. The focus was on specific project funding and knowledge transfer. In November 2017, SECO organised the Swiss Tourism Forum on the topic of digitalisation in tourism. In this context, a comprehensive basic report on the digital tourism industry was compiled, which is now available.

Last modification 20.07.2022

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