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Digitalisation in Tourism- In-depth analysis of challenges and opportunities -report commissioned by EASME

Digital technologies have brought significant transformation to the tourism industry, revolutionising tourism enterprises, products and experiences, business ecosystems, and destinations. Digitalisation has also transformed the traditional roles of tourism producers and consumers, with new roles, relationships, business models, and competencies emerging. The objective of this report was to analyse the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation in tourism, how these challenges and opportunities affect. The digital competencies of the tourism labour force will play a key role in the successful uptake of digitalisation in tourism. SMEs however often lack the necessary technical resources in their workforce to fully realise digital potentials. This can be due to a number of factors ranging from a lack of knowledge in identifying required digital skills to limited staffing issues, restricting the time and effort which can be applied to learning new digital processes. Recommendations Policy responses should build on the knowledge network and cluster development instigated by public authorities and professional associations. Furthermore, their continued consultation can help strategically focus digital policies to the appropriate e-business, e-commerce and e-governance needs of SMEs at local, regional and nation levels. Technical assistance in the form of digital training should be targeted to different groups of SMEs including those just start to digitalise and are moving into e-business; those that are in transition to e-commerce; and those that are highly digitalised and experimenting with new technologies. This form of technical assistance also ties in with aspects of lifelong learning and the digital empowerment of the workforce. Access to reliable digital infrastructure must be promoted with a focus on fostering increased levels of digital literacy. Rural areas are particularly challenged in terms of access to digital infrastructure. Digital research and development should incorporate smart growth strategies to secure long-term thinking and promote sustainable practices. This requires collaboration with additional industries and integrating tourismrelated activities into the wider economic value chains of a destination.