Tenerife leads technological innovation in the travel sector through its Artificial Intelligence Tourism Master Plan. This tool is a pioneer in any destination in Spain and is key to the goal of being a digital node in the industry. In addition, it is one of the strongest assets in the Island’s candidacy to be the headquarters of the State Agency for the development of algorithms that seek to replicate with robotics and computing the proper understanding of the human being, which is what artificial intelligence is based.
Tenerife became a national benchmark in 2020 as the first territory to achieve the Segitur distinction as a Smart Tourist Destination. The Cabildo works to turn it into a technological hub (node) applied to tourism to offer the traveler new and better experiences.
The Island Corporation, aware of the need to develop the island’s capabilities to the maximum in this area, prepares, through Tenerife Tourism and supported by the expert Cristina Aranda –doctor in Linguistics, co-founder of Mujeres Tech and one of the digital leaders in Spain– an Artificial Intelligence Tourism Master Plan. This document, the first for a tourist destination in Spain, must serve as an innovative and technological lever for Tenerife and as a basis for designing specific action plans with the sector. Its implementation must be shared with the different tourist and technological agents.
Three main goals
There are three main objectives set for the development and implementation of the Master Plan. In the first place, encourage artificial intelligence to have an exponential impact on improving the services provided to tourism and citizens, in general, within a policy aligned with the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2020 and the European Funds.
In second place the creation of an international innovative ecosystem that is a world reference in artificial intelligence is proposedl in tourism and technology. Finally, the intention is the dissemination and training in artificial intelligence and emerging technologies applied to tourism and public administrations as levers of sustainability. With a focus on the 2030 Agenda and the UN sustainable development goals.
Following the distinction as a Smart Tourist Destination –in the wake of the cities of Málaga, Gijón, Benidorm and Santander–, Turismo de Tenerife developed the Tenerife Smart Destination model in 2021 as a strategic guide to revalidate its leadership position.
This model places Tenerife as a future pole of knowledge within a natural tourism ecosystem. Based on an innovative environment, consolidated on a cutting-edge technological infrastructure that guarantees the sustainable development of the territory for current and future generations. A destination respectful of the 2030 agenda and the 18 SDGs, universally accessible, that facilitates the interaction and integration of its visitors with the natural and cultural environment and increases the quality of their experience on the Island. Improving, in turn, the quality of life of citizenship.
To progressively bring the Island closer to this Smart model, Turismo de Tenerife is working on a strategic map of actions, among which is the Artificial Intelligence Tourism Master Plan. It was presented by the president of the Cabildo de Tenerife in December 2021, with the presence of the Secretary of State for Digitization, Carme Artigas. With this roadmap we want to achieve a double challenge. On the one hand, converting Tenerife into a leading tourist destination in terms of artificial intelligence and sustainable innovation, while fostering the integration of the agents of the tourism and technological ecosystem in a space for joint creation. On the other hand, to offer visitors and citizens a unique multi-channel experience –offline and online–, the result of emotional and experiential innovation.
The implementation of the program of actions derived from the plan is already under way, after the approval of Next Generation funds from the European Union (EU) to do it.
The specifications are currently being finalized to put it out to tender, worth 500,000 euros for the period 2023-2025. David Pérez, CEO of Tenerife Tourism, values the “coordination” with the Cabildo’s Innovation and Modernization area in the work on “this commitment to tourism artificial intelligence.” He highlights that it is the first plan that is presented in a Spanish tourist destination.
Pérez summarizes his objectives: to improve the experience of tourism in the destination; increase the competitiveness of the tourism value chain and have predictive capacity. He delves into this last idea: «Being able to anticipate events and that our response to any situation in the market of origin can be greater and in the shortest possible time». Pérez concludes: “Therefore, having all these digital tools means maintaining the leadership of a destination like Tenerife also in the digital age.”
Speed in every way
Humanity has needed thousands of years to evolve in many habits of life as a species, but in the last century the speed has accelerated exponentially, until reaching the current vertiginous moment. The way of working, relating and enjoying leisure are already completely impregnated by technology. But they still await huge disruptions that are going to play a crucial role in future developments. One of them is artificial intelligence.
This discipline is defined by the European Commission as the ability of a machine to present the same capacities as human beings, such as reasoning, learning, creativity and the ability to plan. For the travel industry it presents a huge window of opportunity with the creation of innovative digital products and services.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (or machine learning), in the words of Chinese academics and experts Tsaih and Hsu “They can help the traveler to improve their experience by automating processes and knowledge.” They allow to anticipate the user’s needs and recommend the choice of consumption activities specific to the context, such as points of interest, restaurants and recreational activities. They also enhance the experiences of travelers who receive rich, location-based information and personalized, interactive services. Finally, it allows them to share their travel experiences.
The first Artificial Intelligence Tourism Master Plan in the state is an important step in turning Tenerife into a place for knowledge transfer. A engine of innovation as the basis for the future of the Island. Much better if, in addition, it is the headquarters of the future Spanish Agency.