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Rethinking Digital Foci – What are the Real Digital Needs of Welsh Tourism Organisations?

The use of digital technologies is becoming more evident within the tourism industry however it is characterised by different levels of usage between rural, small and medium organisations versus large, urban ones. This study reports on findings of quantitative and qualitative research focusing on the mapping of the current digital proficiencies and future digital skills of tourism related organisations in Wales. The results show that whilst the highest projected digital skills gaps in 2030 relate to emerging technologies such as AI, AR and VR, more pressing digital needs relate to the use of social media and online marketing. The study identifies lack of need, time and/or budget as main reasons for lack of digital engagement and training. Current, future and gap levels of digital proficiencies in tourism and hospitality organisations in Wales include the following skills: Skills related to applying digital hardware technologies, such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics skills, Website development skills, Data analytics, business intelligence, big data skills. Skills to monitor online reviews. Skills for implementing online safety procedures. Online marketing and communication skills. Social media skills. Desktop publishing skills (for designing brochures, catalogues, etc.). Skills to adjust digital equipment such as Wi-Fi connectivity, sound systems and video projectors. Computer programming skills Operating System use skills (e.g., Windows). Microsoft Office skills (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint)