Tourism and the Digital Transformation Forum on 26 September

In celebration of the World Tourism Day 2018, the Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism in Oman will hold a forum on “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” on the 26th of September at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, between 6 – 8.30 pm, followed by dinner. “The event is sponsored by the Kempinski Hotel and Shell Oman to whom we are very grateful. The forum will present testimonials on how the tourism sector worldwide has been shaped by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A leading panel of international and national experts will be discussing their recent initiatives in heritage, hospitality, tourism development, marketing and quality assurance in an interactive and concise forum,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management at GUtech.

Technologies are emerging, disrupting and affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era in which digitalization builds and impacts societies in new and often unanticipated ways. It is worthwhile considering exactly what kind of shifts we are experiencing and how we can ensure, collectively and individually, that this revolution creates benefits for all. Tourism was one of the first sectors to digitalize business processes on a global scale, bringing flight and hotel booking online to become a digital pioneer. As information and communications technology (ICT) became a global phenomenon, tourism was a consistent early adopter of new technologies and platforms. Digitalization of the tourism sector influenced business and consumer alike and required a complete paradigm shift in the sector. Disintermediation meaning the gradual disappearance of the travel agencies and the move of the tourism sector into a business to consumer model. This might have led to loss of business on one hand, but has on the other created many others. Another interesting development is in the area of the power of the consumer, the wisdom of the crowd has now replaced quality assurance agencies, consumer is no longer interested in how many stars the hotel have but rather on the quantity and quality of reviews on tripadvisor.

This year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) will help to put the opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sees digital advances and innovation as part of the solution to the challenge of marrying continued growth with a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.

“Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili in his message for the World Tourism Day 2018.

The programme of International Business and Service Management (IBSM) is one of GUtech’s fastest growing programme of studies. The programme of study focuses on the tourism sector from an international and national perspective. More information on the forum can be found on the GUtech website.

(c) GUtech/ Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management

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