Sustainable tourism is a proven tool for development, benefiting countries and communities around the world. When properly managed, tourism can contribute to national economic development, leverage human capital, improve livelihoods particularly for women and rural entrepreneurs, support cultural heritage and resources protection, and promote international understanding. Digital platforms and the fourth revolution are disrupting the way the tourism sector is run from end to end—impacting the way destinations facilitate tourism, develop product, gather data, access markets, and attract visitors. This disruption has ripple effects across the tourism industry and effects low-income markets striving to leverage tourism for development impacts. Two prominent disruptors are the digital platforms that facilitate peer-to-peer accommodation and user-generated content, which have shifted the power away from media companies and hotel conglomerates into the hands of the consumers.
The peer-to-peer accommodation economy is growing six times as fast as other forms of accommodation. Peer reviews and other user-generated content (UGC) facilitated by digital platforms have become the fastest growing and most important sources of travel information—more important than tourism board and traditional coverage. This disruption may present an opportunity for emerging markets to benefit from lower barriers to entry, increased access to market and data, new accommodate inventory. But these changes can also marginalize those less digitally able and concentrate power in a few monopolistic platforms.
This event brings together key thought leaders to answer some of key questions for development: are these technologies accessible, are they leading to more inclusive outcomes, how can these technologies benefit tourism development in emerging economies, and what are the risks and how are we addressing them? The Forum will focus on how digital platforms can contribute to tourism for development, and support the World Bank Group’s the twin goals of poverty reduction and shared prosperity. It will also address ways in which the World Bank Group, global leaders, and policy makers can work together to deliver on this agenda.
The event will be held at the World Bank Headquarters and broadcast globally online.