WTTC says embrace AI as a ‘catalyst for positive change’

by: Felicity Cousins | January 30, 2024

SPAIN: New reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Microsoft have highlighted how AI will be used in travel and tourism in a positive direction for sustainability.

The first in a series of AI reports in collaboration with WTTC’s Industry Partner, Microsoft, is set to redefine travel and tourism standards and call on the sector for greater integration of the technology.

The report highlights how artificial intelligence capabilities extend to predicting future demand patterns, therefore efficiently allocating resources, and providing insights for governments and travel and tourism stakeholders.  

WTTC says this can be pivotal in promoting sustainability with “efficient resource management by monitoring and minimising environmental impacts, ensuring a more responsible and sustainable sector.”

Julia Simpson, WTTC president & CEO, said: “As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Travel & Tourism, AI emerges as a catalyst for positive change.

“The transformative capabilities highlighted in this report demonstrate that AI is not just a technological advancement, it is a strategic tool that can personalise the customer experience, drive sustainable improvements, and create real time pricing models.”

The report also reveals the sector lags other consumer-facing industries in AI adoption.

Amidst the industry concerns about AI’s impact on jobs, the report looks at the potential for job creation, recognising that although AI will be disruptive, it will in turn generate new opportunities. 

And in the quest for sustainable artificial intelligence practices within the travel and tourism sector, responsible data management emerges as a crucial strategy.

The report also looks at how the sector can reduce its carbon emissions when using new technology and looks at how to minimise an AI environmental footprint by implementing data minimisation, efficient storage, and responsible data disposal.

Challenges that must be overcome by travel and tourism businesses include a shortage of AI-skilled workers, limited AI infrastructure, and the absence of a formal ‘AI strategy’ in many business plans.

Julie Shainock, Microsoft managing director travel, transport & logistics, said: “Using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Models across the travel sector allows greater productivity for companies and drive a more personalised consumer experience… For travel companies, GenAI is there to increase productivity, automate the predictable, and allow our human centric approach to the high value moments in travel to shine more.”  

The Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology: Guide for Travel & Tourism Leaders can be downloaded from the WTTC website.

The WTTC recently partnered with Biosphere to promote and advance sustainability criteria under the Hotel Sustainability Basics initiative.

WTTC and Biosphere partner to take Hotel Sustainability Basics to next level


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash