The China Chamber of Tourism and the Macao government hosted a three-day forum to explore and foster new collaborations in the travel and tourism industry.
The accidental success of Lonely Planet as a result of the 2010 European volcano ash travel disruptions, underlined the importance for the travel and tourism industry to embrace new technologies.
At that time, Lonely Planet gave away some mobile applications to help people, after some 4 million downloads, people returned to see what else was on offer and in turn started a huge demand for mobile destination apps. Lonely Planet is best known for their guidebooks but it also has websites, mobile applications, e-books, and television.
The Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) held in Macao has been studying some of these lessons and seeing how the use and impact of technology can impact the travel and tourism industry. The three-day forum brought together more than 1,000 industry leaders with the event’s overall aim to find new synergies within an industry that is an important driver of global economic growth.
The editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia Pacific noted that the Internet and mobile technology has provided a boost to an industry that contributes $6 trillion to the global economy and provided some 260 million jobs worldwide.
New technology and online access to booking systems have revolutionised the tourism industry and the way travellers book and research their trips from the very first question of “where to go” to “how much does it cost” and how they share their experiences.
While the vast majority of travellers book online, the pattern of searches before booking implies that they are very much in engaged but also influenced by what others recommend.
The modern traveller is able to arrange their travel plans from research to booking and visa applications without interacting at all with a traditional travel agent.