The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) successfully organised the second edition of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Data Analytics Forum, which took place virtually on 28th March.

Dedicated to the tourism industry, the event offered a platform to learn and discuss the latest insights shaping the sector and provided attendees with an overview on the anticipated future of the tourism industry based on data shared during the event. With more than 625 registrations, the event brought together business professionals, analysts and researchers from the tourism industry from various countries including the United Kingdom, USA, China, India, as well as Russia and Spain.

The forum featured various discussions, including a special interview with Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados, who discussed longer-term tourism in a remote work world. In addition, the forum included eight panel sessions about a range of topics including using data to drive business insights, leveraging data and analytics to revitalise the tourism sector, as well as lessons from China’s travel restart post COVID-19. Led by several experts, the panel sessions revealed interesting insights into the current status of the global tourism sector, as well as the projected recovery timeline.

“Throughout 2020, data and analytics helped us identify specific challenges, issues and concerns faced by consumers and our business partners,” said HE Saood Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi. “As a result, we were able to tailor our response, by creating efficient and timely initiatives and campaigns that met the needs of our stakeholders on a personalised level. DCT Abu Dhabi has adopted a rigorous data-driven approach to continuously assess and redesign journeys across all touchpoints: from booking museum tickets to the submission of licence applications, to our internal day-to-day operations.

“Data analytics is an essential pillar of our strategy that will enable us to achieve our ambitious long-term targets for Abu Dhabi. Fuelled by research and insight, I feel confident that we will achieve our goal of developing the emirate into a front-of-mind tourist destination with 23 million visits per year by 2030,” HE Al Hosani added.

Songul Cengiz, Principal Industry Analyst, Public Sector Google MENA, highlighted that the pandemic has set the global tourism industry back to levels of the 90’s, with estimated loss of global GDP equating to more than two trillion US dollars. Fortunately, government responses to the pandemic and the launch of the global vaccination roll-out campaign provide indispensable hope to the sector, with destinations such as the UAE and Maldives already welcoming back international tourists as a result.

Insights presented at the event indicate that the pre-pandemic level of travel could likely be achieved by 2024/25, aligning with the progress of global efforts to immunise the world’s population against COVID-19. To support the enlivenment of the tourism sector, organisations around the world are showing greater dependence on data and analytics to create and implement suitable strategies and solutions that aid the development of the tourism industry.

Source: Hill+Knowlton Strategies