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ICT & Tourism Business Initiative

The European Commission is working with stakeholders to create an Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) and tourism business initiative – in order to boost the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the European tourism sector and to create more and smarter jobs.


The internet has dramatically changed both the demand and supply side of the tourism market.

On the one hand, it has changed the way in which consumers plan and buy their holidays as travel information search and booking remain on top of the most popular activities conducted online. On the other hand, it has also affected how tourism providers design, promote and sell their products and services.

In future, tourism demand is expected to shift from mass tourism to more tailor-made tourism for individual travelers. This will further impact the online marketization strategies of tourism SMEs. Unfortunately, most SMEs in the tourism sector have traditionally avoided rather costly e- distribution networks and have established their own online presence for advertising products and services. Their capability to cater for changing tourism demand will be strongly subject to their capacity to operate on online market place and adapt their business strategies accordingly.

The main European lines of action include:

  • Policy

The ICT & Tourism Initiative aims to boost participation of tourism SMEs in the digital value chain by helping them gain the right skills for operating on online market place and interconnect with all relevant market players via big distribution networks at affordable rates.
Tourism team is continuously cooperating with other Directorates General as well as industry experts to analyse market evolution, identify needs and make recommendations for policy development. The latter is also informed by input gathered at events allowing strong stakeholder participation.
For example, the IT in Tourism Workshop, which took place on 21 March 2014, brought together representatives of the tourism industry to discuss opportunities and challenges that technological progress poses for the tourism SMEs.
For more information about the event and speaker presentations, click here.
The video recording from the workshop is available in web streaming here.

Tourism Business Portal assists the businesses (mainly Small and medium enterprises) that are already operating or just starting up in tourism industry with each step of their business processes.

It offers a one-stop-shop online learning, including ICT business tools and video tutorials, aiming to assist tourism companies with setting up, management, promotion and global expansion of their business.

  • Webinars

Interactive webinars are aimed to support tourism SMEs to navigate the complexities of the digital tourism landscape. They address the most important trends related to how visitors are using technology to discover, plan and share their travel experiences and to provide insight and guidance that is both informative and educational, with practical advice that can be implemented as part of the day-to-day running of any business.

The webinars offer a complete insight to into what it means to be a tourism SME operating in a digital era, engaging with customers in B2B interactions on the constantly evolving digital market. The topics covered include, for instance, digital marketing strategy, online reputation management, social media, m-tourism etc.

TOURISMlink aims to

  • improve ICT adoption by tourism SMEs in their Business to Business interaction
  • improve their competitiveness by enhancing business relationships between source markets and destinations
  • facilitate the involvement of SMEs in the global digital value chain through the development of simple, low-cost, easy-to-use and interoperable solutions.

The TOURISMlink platform works as a B2B connector, providing tourism SMEs with a wide range of transactions. It enables firms to exchange data and share processes with each other through a set of standardised specifications that allow easy interaction between the different systems. It also provides connections to other large tourism service distribution platforms. It is scalable, modular and developed as open source.
Thanks to TOURISMlink, travel agencies have access to tourism services and transactions via web interfaces using standard communication formats and methods. Hotels and complementary tourism providers are able to connect to the platform through their Property Management System (PMS) using standard communication formats (XML-based) or using a simple web interface provided by TOURISMlink.

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