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Impact of technology on travel and tourism - statistics & facts

People’s need to travel faster, safer, and more efficiently has fueled the invention of great technological solutions. During the last decades, the impact of technology on travel has become even more significant thanks to the application of new IT services, leading to the rise of the online travel market and the increasing digitalization of the travel industry. An important achievement behind the online travel experience dates back to the 1960s when the first global distribution system (GDS) was introduced. GDSs are online networks connecting suppliers - such as airlines, hotels, or cruise lines - to providers, like travel agencies and online travel agencies. Having access to the suppliers’ inventory, like the number of seats or hotel rooms available, GDSs allow providers to access such information, helping customers to book multiple travel services at once. In 2019, the distribution systems business segment of Amadeus, one of the most renowned GDSs worldwide, generated revenues of roughly 3.5 billion U.S. dollars. However, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the revenue of Amadeus worldwide in this segment sharply decreased in 2020.

The use of technology in the travel and tourism industry

Among the technology trends shaping travel and tourism is cloud computing, which is used to access, manage, and store data online. According to a 2020 study, over half of European travel agencies and tour operators bought cloud computing services used over the internet, whereas only 29 percent did the same in 2016. Meanwhile, a December 2020 survey focusing on the usage of chatbots among travel and hospitality companies worldwide suggested that this type of software could also play a big role in the future, with roughly 46 percent of respondents claiming to be working on implementing chatbots to enable guests to make general inquiries or bookings. Virtual agents and chatbots were also predicted to be among the main AI services implemented or planned by airports by 2022.

Travelers’ opinions on the use of technology

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted normal travel, interest in the use of technology to relaunch travel and tourism has increased since 2020, as shown by the idea of introducing digital COVID-19 travel passports. Global research from 2020 found that travelers from Thailand were the most convinced that technology would be important in minimizing human interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Germans were far more skeptical in this respect. In terms of technologies that would increase confidence in travel, mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications and alerts, as well as contactless payments, were among the favorite, according to a September 2020 poll.


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