9UNWTO Europe Meeting discusses digitalization and new business models

Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, last week hosted representatives of 34 countries for the 60th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe. Discussions focused on major tourism trends and the priorities and agenda of the Organization for the region. The meeting was followed by a seminar on new business models.

“In 2015, there were 29 million more international tourists in Europe than the previous year, raising the total in the region to 609 million. At a time when economic recovery is still quite slow, tourism has been a major contributor to the European economy, generating 404 billion euros in exports,”

said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai opening the meeting.

“Although the sector continues to progress, many challenges face us. These include a rapidly changing consumer market, the impact of technology, the emergence of new business models, manmade and natural crises, and the quest to make our sector more sustainable and more responsible,”

he added.

“Tourism in Lithuania has large growth potential and after this event we have even more stimulus to keep promoting our country and look for new possibilities to support tourism,”

said Evaldas Gustas, Minister of Economy of Lithuania and Vice-Chair of the UNWTO Commission for Europe.

Safe, secure and seamless travel, the role of tourism in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017 were discussed at the Commission meeting.

The following seminar explored the impacts of new business models, and in particular of the so-called ‘sharing economy’, on the tourism sector, and how ‘traditional’ businesses are responding. Speakers included BeMyGuest, the Lithuanian Hotels and Restaurants Association, Room Mate Hotels, TripAdvisor, ReviewPro, HOTREC, NBTC Holland Marketing, the European Commission, the Tourism Chamber of the Republic of Lithuania and Airbnb. Participants agreed that the opportunities afforded by new business models should be embraced but that measures should be taken to ensure both a level playing field and the protection of consumers.

On the occasion of his visit to Lithuania, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai met Lithuanian private sector representatives and the Chamber of Commerce.

“Sustainable measures and other tourism policies should be applicable to all business models, so that all stakeholders across the value chain hold the same level of responsibility with regard to the sector,”

said Mr Rifai.

“Only by working in cooperation and by building bridges will the tourism community be able to capitalize on the strong potential of the sector,”

he added.

In 2015, Europe remains the world’s most visited region with 609 million international tourist arrivals (51% of the world’s total). International tourism generated 404 billion euros in exports, 3% more than in 2014.

Source: UNWTO


EU MNOs still have time to take part in our EU Regulation Research currently open:

All the press can talk about these last few days are the final Regulated Price Caps which have come into place across the EU member states. The Guardian Newspaper two days ago expressed:

“Mobile phone users will now have to decide if it is worth their while paying extra for holiday roaming deals or bolt-ons”.

Of course the press isn’t focussed just on this years final price caps but on next years abolition of Roaming.

“Roaming fees in Europe get cheaper on April 30th before vanishing next year”

Says The Verge, and says the BBC…

“From June next year, roaming charges in the EU will be abolished completely.”

However as we heard from BEREC recently. The Roam Like At Home (RLAH) solutions in place across the EU today which claim the end of Roaming Charges are not what the Regulators consider to the be relevant for June 2017 when the full abolition of Roaming commences. While about half of the operators interviewed by BEREC replied that they offer some sort of RLAH tariff plan which includes roaming services in the domestic bundle, they have several restrictions: i.e. specific add-ons, specific services but not all under regulation, Specific durations etc. See our article on this here.

In light of this, MNOs have requested of ROCCO a research survey to capture data about common approaches to the EU Roaming Regulation 2015/2120. Please see below the link to this survey. Any MNO taking part will receive the full survey results at no cost for their own companies use.

EU MNOs can take the survey here

The Survey will run subject to the responses from MNOs, but is expected to close in 40 days on 11th June 2016. Thank you for participating.