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AI Set to Shape Future of Global Tourism

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Microsoft have unveiled groundbreaking reports highlighting the transformative role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the future of global travel and tourism. Launched during the UN General Assembly in New York, these reports underscore a commitment to a digital future prioritizing safety, ethical considerations, and responsible AI adoption. The final two reports in a series by WTTC, “Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI): Overview of AI Risks, Safety & Governance” and “Artificial Intelligence (AI): Global Strategies, Policies & Regulations,” delve into the potential risks, strategies, and regulatory landscapes associated with AI deployment. These reports empower organizations to harness the power of AI responsibly, addressing issues such as bias, discrimination and ensuring human oversight of AI systems.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, commented on the pivotal role of AI in the evolving landscape of travel and tourism: “AI emerges as a catalyst for positive change. The insights provided in these reports demonstrate that AI is not just a technological advancement; it is a strategic tool that can personalize customer experiences, drive sustainable improvements, and shape the future of Travel & Tourism.” The reports highlight real-world applications of AI in the sector, with major hotel groups like Iberostar using AI to monitor and reduce food waste. This initiative resulted in a 27% cost savings and prevented thousands of kilos of unwanted food from going to landfills.

Julie Shainock, Managing Director, Travel, Transport, & Logistics Industry for Microsoft, emphasized the growing role of AI across the travel ecosystem: “We are seeing AI being embraced across the entire travel ecosystem, enhancing the customer and employee experience, and driving more efficiency in operations. We are excited to see what the future holds as AI becomes more widely adopted to automate mundane tasks and elevate the human experience.”

The reports also provide a detailed overview of the AI ecosystem across key countries and international organizations, showcasing how policymakers are navigating the AI landscape to foster innovation while ensuring ethical and responsible use. Despite the sector’s increasing recognition of AI’s potential, challenges such as AI-skilled workforce shortages persist. This highlights the urgent need for travel and tourism businesses to invest in talent and foster collaboration between humans and AI. WTTC emphasizes that AI has the power to revolutionize how businesses in the travel and tourism sector operate, offering immense opportunities for growth and innovation. As AI continues to reshape the world, WTTC remains at the forefront, advocating for safe, ethical, and inclusive AI innovation. The reports underscore the critical importance of proactive measures to overcome barriers to AI adoption, urging the travel and tourism sectors to embrace AI as a strategic priority.

In conclusion, as AI continues to gain momentum, it is poised to shape the future of global travel and tourism, driving innovation, efficiency, and personalized experiences while fostering a culture of responsibility and ethical use.