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Greece: Digital Transformation, Public-private Partnerships Key for Tourism Development

Digital transformation is a prerequisite for the development of tourism and other key sectors of the Greek economy but its fast implementation requires the close cooperation of the both the private and public sectors, a study conducted by consulting firm Accenture found.

Titled “The digital transformation of Greek tourism – A strategic roadmap”, the study was compiled for INSETE – the research body of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), and presented to professionals and reporters during an online event on Thursday.

Through its research, Accenture was able to confirm that the digital transformation of Greek enterprises is still in its early stages. The study also acknowledged the significance of digital technology for the increase of competitiveness in entrepreneurship and the tourism sector in particular.

As highlighted during the event, due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Greece’s tourism industry is up against major challenges that require the acceleration of digital transformation. Already 95 percent of the world’s tourism enterprises are moving forward with the adoption of new technologies in efforts to keep up with the constantly changing environment and cover their emerging needs.

“The economic and social environment formed during the pandemic, has created the need for our faster adaptation to the digital world… The acceleration of recovery in the tourism sector and the enhancement of its sustainability will be based on the adoption of new technologies,” SETE President Yiannis Retsos said.

Greek tourism – A strategic roadmap

The Strategic Roadmap for the digital transformation of the tourism industry presented by INSETE and Accenture is based on the following five action pillars:

• Data Hub
The creation of a data hub with analyses and information for the whole tourism ecosystem is considered of paramount importance. The data hub will be used by private and public enterprises and organizations, non-governmental organizations etc.

• Digital Identity
The digital identity will gather digital information on visitors (vaccination certificates, passports, travel preferences etc) in order to ensure a contactless travel experience, which in the short-term could contribute to the recovery of tourism activity.

• Smart Destinations
The development of smart destinations initially includes the creation of an application through which visitors will be able to easily proceed with travel procedures, for example book tickets; purchase travel products and services, and seek information.

• Smart Enterprises
The creation of smart enterprises is possible with the transition to digital operations activated through Property Management Systems (PMS) and Revenue Management Systems (RMS). For example, with the adoption of the appropriate technology, smart hotels and airports could ensure their optimum internal operation and increase revenues, as well as offer upgraded experiences to their customers.

• Digital Skills
The coordination and management of tourism training is a prerequisite for the adoption of digital technologies. It is possible through the creation of a digital skills training center with the contribution of both the private and public sectors. Essential digital skills include customer service, data analysis, big data, business intelligence, digital security, social media, digital marketing, online booking, revenue management and more.

Technology and sustainability

During the event, SETE President Yiannis Retsos also referred to the significant role of technology in the development of sustainable destinations.

“Sustainable destinations are based on the management of five elements: water, energy, health, transportation and waste. Technology must become a basic tool for the development of sustainable destinations in order (for them) to be able to meet specific goals and offer certain benefits. The close cooperation of the public and private sectors is also a prerequisite,” Yiannis Retsos said.

The promotion of Public Private Partnerships (SDIT) in the Information Technology sector is among the main priorities of the Greek government for the next months, according to Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis.

Speaking during the same event, Pierrakakis underlined that the promotion of the 5G technology is at the core of the government’s strategy as it is expected to decisively affect the tourism ecosystem.

“We estimate that the 5G technology will cover 94 percent of Greece’s population in the next five and a half years,” he added.

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About the Author
Eleftheria has worked for several financial newspapers, magazines and websites during the past 19 years. Between 2004 and 2014 she worked as a radio producer, reporter and presenter for the Greek and English language program of “Athina 9.84 FM”. She also has hands-on experience in the MICE industry.

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