The importance of digital transformation technologies cannot be negated and it is impacting every field. Their impact on the tourism sector can be substantial for a sustainable growth. There are huge opportunities for innovation as well as preparing the sector for the future of civilization and work. This is at the heart of the World Tourism Day 2018, which is being celebrated in Budapest, Hungary on 27 September, 2018.
Digital transformation technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Machine Learning, Internet of Things or IoT are being used in several sectors for innovation and applications. This is providing digital disruption. Over the last 6 decades, the tourism sector has experienced expansion as well as diversification. It has now become one of the most rapidly growing as well as important economic sector in the world. This can benefit destinations as well as communities worldwide. In fact, the international tourist arrivals globally have grown from about 25 million in the year 1950 to about 1.3 billion in today’s age. On similar lines, international tourism revenues have been earned by destinations around the world and they have grown from about 2 billion US dollars in 1950 to around 1260 trillion in 2015. This dynamic sector represents an estimated 10 per cent of the world’s GDP and about 1 in 10 jobs internationally.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) suggests tourism would grow annually at an average rate of 3 per cent till the year 2030. Great news for the occasion of the World Tourism Day. Such an exponential growth pertinently reflects the expansion of access to tourism, due to the sharp decline in prices of transport, particularly air transport as well as the growth of the middle classes world-wide. The basic recognition of the right to have holidays, which is there in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the improved adoption of labor rights in several countries have supported such an expansion of tourism. The factors serve as a backdrop for resilience that is shown by the tourism sector in the recent years. The tourism sector has experienced growth in spite of challenges like the natural disasters, global economic crisis, and pandemics. The World Tourism Day is reminder of how we can progress towards sustainable development and a better quality of life.