The European Travel Commission (ETC), Modul University, the City Destinations Alliance (CityDNA), and ForwardKeys have joined forces to set the foundation for the development of a secure and trusted Data Space for Tourism (DSFT). The project is funded by the EU and aims to enable all European tourism stakeholders to share and access relevant data when required.
Following the project’s launch, the partnering organisations stated: “For European tourism stakeholders facing strategic and operational challenges amidst recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to make decisions based on reliable data has never been stronger. Besides, access to the right information at the right time, the Data Space for Tourism could support businesses in improving their competitive position within the global marketplace, while also fulfilling the obligations of the European Green Deal.”
Tying tourism data together
While data is now everywhere, generated from diverse sources at unimaginable speed, it is often fragmented and difficult to access. To harness the full potential of data, the European Commission has outlined the European Data Strategy, envisaging a single market where data flows within the EU and across sectors for the benefit of the whole society.
The DSFT is the part of this marketplace focusing on tourism that shall enable all stakeholders (e.g., SMEs, governmental agencies, technology firms, and tourism entities at the national, regional, and local levels) to share and access the data they require. In order to build this secure and trusted data space, the consortium leverages its expertise and reputation to set out its foundations.
Fostering “data sharing” culture in tourism
For the DSFT to be a sustainable solution, a bottom-up approach is required to build a “culture of data sharing” among all relevant tourism stakeholders. Thus, the preparatory actions aim to achieve four milestones:
Kicking off with a participative approach
Over the next year, the partnering organisations will conduct online questionnaires and in-person workshops with industry stakeholders. The outcomes of these consultations will inform the design of the DSFT. The consortium, therefore, invites all tourism organisations interested in raising their voices and contributing to the development of DSFT to fill in this contact form.
Looking ahead, the preparatory actions of this project will pave the way for the actual deployment of the DSFT. Its successful implementation will allow for increased access to data for all tourism stakeholders, leading to substantial increases in productivity, sustainability, innovation, and upskilling within the sector. The shared data space can be an excellent tool for combating the economic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing the industry’s resilience in uncertain times.
The DSFT aims to become a model for other sectors and lead to the eventual single market for data that increases the competitiveness of the EU and the overall quality of life for its citizens. There are also clear synergies with other EU projects, such as the European Interoperability Framework for Smart Cities and Communities (EIF4SCC), which would build upon access to the DSFT. Therefore, addressing the interoperability challenge, not only within the tourism sector but throughout the EU and across sectors, is another clear objective.
The project is funded by the European Union.