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World Economic Forum (WEF) White Paper, “Digital Transformation Initiative: Aviation, Travel, and Tourism Industry” (January 2017).

The Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI) is a project launched by the World Economic Forum in 2015 as part of the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and Society. It is an ongoing initiative that serves as the focal point at the Forum for new opportunities and themes arising from latest developments in the digitalization of business and society. It supports the Forum’s broader activity around the theme of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The aviation, travel and tourism industry has been at the forefront of digital disruption, changing the way people travel. Nonetheless, World Economic Forum research suggests it should brace itself for another wave of digital transformation. There are a series of industry, customer and technology trends converging to redefine operating and business models in the travel ecosystem. New entrants – especially digital natives such as online travel aggregators (OTAs), meta-search engines and travel service platforms – are shaking up the value chain. Growing demand for travel, particularly in emerging markets, represents a significant opportunity for these new entrants, as they challenge incumbent businesses to rapidly adapt their own strategies to capture growth. Travel providers are seeking stronger interactions with customers, while drastically changing operations, in pursuit of better insights around customer preferences and operational performance. Connected devices and artificial intelligence (AI) will provide ample opportunities to make those operations more effective, and enable collaboration and asset-sharing between enterprises. Technology will also have an impact on the industry workforce, with employees empowered by real- time information and decision-making support from AI to focus on their core strengths. These trends look set to propel the industry into a period of accelerated digitalization. Four themes have been identified that will take centre stage in shaping travel and tourism over the next decade: 1. Living travel experience: Travellers will experience seamless journeys tailored to their habits and preferences. Companies along the Aviation, Travel and Tourism industry journey will optimize customer experience by collecting and exchanging data, and continuously generating insights. In time, travel will become frictionless, blending seamlessly with other everyday activities 2. Enabling the travel ecosystem: Ecosystem roles are blurring as stakeholders throughout the customer journey vie to own the customer relationship. Digital platforms that enable ecosystem alliances will continue to emerge, as asset and information sharing become increasingly important from a B2B perspective