The European Parliament (EP) approved a resolution in March 2021, establishing an “EU Strategy for Sustainable Tourism”. This marked the first initiative of its kind during the current legislative term and has underpinned several initiatives proposed by the EPP group within the EP. The imminent launch of a pilot project aims to capacitate destination management organizations (DMOs), SMEs, and other pivotal tourism stakeholders. In a dynamic world where data and knowledge are key drivers of progress, the EP delivered a pilot project: “Tourism of Tomorrow Lab.” This forward-thinking initiative, proposed by us in the Tourism Task Force, aims to pave the way for a transformative future. The project’s objectives and the significance it holds for the tourism ecosystem are enormous.

1. Unlocking Access to Knowledge

One of the core aims of this pilot project is to develop comprehensive guidelines for active participation and optimal utilization of the tourism knowledge hub and the tourism data space. By centralizing information, best practices, and research within the tourism knowledge hub, stakeholders will have a powerful resource readily available, enhancing their ability to adapt to emerging trends, embrace digital transformation and foster sustainability. Portugal, with its pristine beaches, national parks, and UNESCO heritage sites, stands to benefit from an EU strategy that emphasizes sustainable tourism. By aligning its national tourism strategies with EU guidelines, Portugal can position itself as a premier sustainable tourism destination, attracting environmentally-conscious travellers and preserving its natural and cultural treasures for future generations.

2. Harnessing the Power of Data

The tourism industry generates a vast amount of data, from traveller’s preferences and booking patterns to environmental impacts and economic indicators. This would allow Portuguese stakeholders to integrate their unique data, providing insights into tourist preferences, peak travel times, and potential areas of improvement. With this information, Portugal can offer more tailored experiences, driving repeat visits and increasing tourist satisfaction.

3. Supporting the Skills Partnership

To implement successfully the tourism knowledge hub and the tourism data space, the tourism ecosystem requires capacity building. The pilot project that we are now proposing, recognizes the need of upskilling and reskilling the workforce in areas related to data collection, aggregation and analysis. Portugal can benefit immensely from the pilot project’s by investing in training programs tailored to these transitions remaining its workforce competitive, adaptable, and ready to meet the demands of modern tourism.

4. Pioneering a European Agency for Tourism

This pilot project, in its inaugural phase, lays the groundwork in alignment with our March 2021 report, advocating for the establishment of a European Agency for Tourism. 

By fostering knowledge sharing, promoting data-driven decision-making, and supporting skill development, this project paves the way for a more sustainable, innovative, and resilient tourism ecosystem. As we embark on this journey, we can anticipate a promising future where European tourism flourishes, adapts to evolving trends, and embraces the transformative power of data and knowledge.