European Comission: Digitalisation in Tourism: In-depth analysis of challenges and opportunities

  • Dredge, Dianne (PI)
  • Phi, Thi Linh Giang (PI)
  • Mahadevan, Renuka (PI)
  • Meehan, Eoin (PI)
  • Silvia Popescu, Elena (PI)

Project Details


Commissioned by the European Commission’s EASME to examine the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation in tourism.
Low Value procedure GRO-SME-17-C-091-A for Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), Virtual Tourism Observatory.

Key findings

Needs of tourism SMEs
Skills. The digital competencies of the tourism labour force will play a key role
in the successful uptake of digitalisation in tourism. SMEs however often lack
the necessary technical resources in their workforce to fully realise digital
potentials. This can be due to a number of factors ranging from a lack of
knowledge in identifying required digital skills to limited staffing issues,
restricting the time and effort which can be applied to learning new digital

Finance. Lack of finance is identified as the number one obstacle preventing
the implementation of digital technologies in tourism SMEs. There is a
significant concern amongst tourism enterprises that the cost of implementing
new digital technologies will not be offset from the gains.

Infrastructure. The geographic location of tourism enterprises greatly affects
their access to adequate digital infrastructures. SMEs in urban settings benefit
from modern wireless and fibre broadband connections whereas the
infrastructure in rural or more remote areas is often deficient.

Mentoring support. Mentoring initiatives can boost innovation, enhance
creativity and ideation, assist with capacity building, and improve connectivity
between tourism enterprises, tech companies, the arts and cultural sector, and
other start-ups. Mentoring reduces the distance, and improves the timeliness,
of advice between those that have the expertise and those that need to learn.
Effective start/end date01/07/2018 → 18/03/2019


  • digitalisation
  • tourism
  • SMEs
  • policy
  • europe