Newsletter #1 - February 2023
National Data Infrastructure for Tourism
Since the start of the project, we have worked on all five workstreams of our subproject. In particular, we have focused on the following two:
1. National Data Infrastructure (NaDIT):
The first phase involves the creation of a directory of data relevant to tourism in Switzerland, in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden. An overview and links to data sources will be incorporated. Real research was necessary to categorize the data in a meaningful and concise way. The following broad categories have emerged :
“Environment” data (data on tourists in source markets and spatial data of the destination)
Points of interest (POIs) and routes
Supply data (accommodation, attractions, MICE, events, restaurants, transport, tickets, guided tours, etc.)
User generated content
Search and web traffic data
Personal data (aggregated or anonymized only)
Service and traffic provider frequency data
Tourism research and consulting
Full details of the categories and an overview will be presented to all partners at the conference on February 24. The partners directly involved in the subproject will be informed beforehand.
In the beginning, the directory will contain data from organizations and companies active at the national level. The directory will be gradually filled with content.
Each partner organization will have a list of its data and a link to a contact person or data source on its own website. Of course, where possible and useful, we can also provide open data.
2. Use cases
At our kick-off in September, it became very clear that NaDIT alone adds little direct value and that the envisaged use cases are considered critical, which is why we are bringing this work forward. We are currently in the process of developing two use cases with partners:
Digitisation, visualisation and modernisation of the Swiss Tourism Dashboard in collaboration with the RDK and the STV - additional data sources will be included.
Measurement of visitor frequencies and flows, working primarily with Swisscom and Intervista data, according to the application. Further national data should be added.
Application partners are destinations that would like to know more about one or more virtual geo-fences. Interested partners from tourism regions are welcome to contact us. In this workstream we cooperate with the HSG.
Service Design, Business Processes and Business Models
The work of subproject 2 is in full swing. As you know, we are working on two main domains:
1. Business Processes: We have completed the international literature review on this topic and numerous practice partners have already sent us their input on the topic of business processes. We are currently consolidating these results and then moving into the designated mapping. The international literature search has revealed relatively little that is useful. It is surprising that the topic of productivity in the tourism industries, although the corresponding challenges are virulent (for example, due to the shortage of skilled workers and labor), is barely discussed. In contrast, the inputs of our practice partners were much more helpful. It is already apparent that individual levers - especially, of course, digital ones - can be used to increase productivity and thus profitability.
2. Business models: We are bringing forward initial work on this domain rather than starting in the second half of the Flagship. Together with the Regional Directors' Conference, Alliance Swiss Pass (mainly SBB), the Swiss Tourism Federation, Switzerland Tourism, and HotellerieSuisse, we are currently working on a pilot to include travel by public transport in overnight hotel stays. In this way, we are living the spirit of the Flagship by contributing our competencies to a concern that is now taking shape in parts of our practice partners (not all of them are also partners in the Flagship). As an academic partner, we develop the necessary scientific basis, advise on the implementation, and provide scientific support for the pilot.
The third major workpackage on visitor willingness to provide insights into their behaviors is currently on hold. More on this in a later newsletter.
The process of modelling the resilience of tourism systems is ongoing. We followed a two-step approach.
Modelling the Resilience of Tourism Systems
1. Step 1
The first step was to delve deeply into the concept of resilience in order to extract a definition adapted to the project. This involved a very extensive bibliographic search. Although the concept is not yet fully defined, we felt it was relevant to develop the model in the context of ecological resilience, even though there is no fixed definition of the concept in tourism. By analogy, tourism systems can be seen as ecosystems. Their survival or destruction follows processes similar to those observed in nature, such as cyclical effects (climaxes in ecology), the distribution of added value between actors as an analogue of biomass repair between species...
2. Step 2
The second step was to define the modelling strategy. There are many technical approaches and ways of approaching the dynamics of systems. By mapping the data, we found that they are sometimes fragmented and in unequal amounts. This rules out hard approaches such as machine learning. The combination of these considerations led us to approach the problem not through formal data processing, but by modelling the links between the actors that make tourism systems live, through approaches based on modelling their knowledge and beliefs. Several workshops with the project partners (Anniviers Tourisme, Crans-Montana Tourisme, Nendaz Tourisme and Sierre-Anniviers Marketing) allowed us to identify the relevant links and convictions. Of course, this is a hybrid work and direct data such as overnight stays are part of the model under development.
Coordination, Orchestration and Communication
Launch of the Resilient Tourism Podcast Series: we are excited to announce that we have already released ten episodes of our podcast series. The aim of this podcast is to generate dialogues within travel stakeholders, foster cross fertilization and innovation, and inspire the Swiss Travel & Hospitality professionals to shape the digital transformation of the sector. In conformity with Switzerland's language diversity, you will find episodes in German, French, Italian or English. Stay tuned for the full season!
Annual Conference: The First Annual Conference took place on February 24, 2023 at the EHL Lausanne Campus. It was great to see more than 40 delegates of the Flagship partners reunited and learn more about the Flagship. We had the pleasure to host two different keynotes : while Alain Jörg from Swisscom discussed about the importance of data-driven businesses for the tourism market, Luca Preto from Ticino Turismo presented 3 interesting projects led by the DMO with a particular focus on digitization. We also had the opportunity to learn more about the subprojects and their progress so far - presented by Anna Para and Heiko Rölke (SP1), Simon Kuster (SP2) and Jean-Christophe Loubier (SP3). We are looking forward to the next edition!
Digital Tourism Transformation in Canton Vaud: In November 2022, we opened a call for projects to accelerate digital innovation in the canton Vaud in order to contribute to the transformation of the travel sector. With the support of the Service de la promotion de l'économie et de l'innovation and Vaud Promotion, we are now in the process of selecting 5 projects that will benefit from a 6-month coaching and a CHF 5'000 support to accelerate their digital transformation. More details coming soon.
Travel Digital Transformation Hub: Part of SP4 is the creation of a travel digital transformation hub, a collaboration space offered to actors of the tourism industry (academia or business professionals) and that aims to write/design new projects for the benefits of Swiss tourism and submit them to national funding institutions. More to come on that activity soon.