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March 20, 2022

Innovation in Tourism is a laboratory for the economy of the future

Innovation in Tourism with a focus on sustainability and digitalization was the motto of “What's Next – Innovating Tourism”. The event promoted by NEST – Tourism Innovation Center brought together more than 100 speakers and 50 startups at the Lisbon Tourism Exchange.

Lisbon, March 20, 2022 - The “What's Next – Innovating Tourism”, event promoted by NEST – Tourism Innovation Center, put innovation on the agenda of the Lisbon Tourism Exchange (BTL) 2022 with a program that anticipated the future of this strategic sector for the Portuguese economy.

At BTL, “What's Next – Innovating Tourism” had its own stage and an area for startups to present their solutions. The afternoons were dedicated to thematic sessions outside the BTL to which speakers outside the sector were invited with the aim of broadening the debate on the future of tourism to society in its various areas.

Tiago Pitta e Cunha, CEO of the Oceano Azul Foundation and Prêmio Pessoa 2021, and João Wengrovius Meneses, Secretary General of the Business Council for Sustainable Development, were guests at the first session, on January 14, in which they discussed why the future of tourism is to be sustainable.

The CEO of the Oceano Azul Foundation considered that the XNUMXst century will be marked by the Environmental Revolution and will be the century of sustainability, but warned of the risk of depletion of natural capital, remembering that marine and terrestrial biodiversity in Portugal and the management of ecosystems and conservation of nature are a tourist asset for their preservation.

For João Wengorovius Meneses, any tourist offer must present Portugal as a sustainable destination and he gave Costa Rica as an example, a pioneer in transforming sustainable tourism into a successful business.

On January 15th, the digital revolution brought together Inês Drummond Borges, Chief Transformation Officer of Sonae Sierra, and António Câmara, Chairman of YGroup. For Inês Borges Drummond, differentiation does not come from technology, but from the ability to think from the consumer's perspective. António Câmara brought to the discussion the new realities of Web3, namely the smart contracts that he considers decisive on the Internet that is being designed and that will allow exploring the real world.

For the next session, on March 17, the NEST – center that counts as founders ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal; Banco BPI; the breeze; Google; Microsoft; the Millennium BCP; NOS and Turismo de Portugal -, invited Maria de Belém Roseira and Germano de Sousa to discuss the impact of Health on Tourism. The former Minister of Health stressed that quality health is essential for the Portugal brand, which can be distinguished by being a safe, healthy destination and by the qualification and appetite for Nature Tourism.

Germano de Sousa defended a national policy option to promote healthy tourism, promoting Portugal as a healthy country that can offer visitors the security of a good health care network. This communication should, in the opinion of the doctor and manager, be integrated with an offer of services and proposals that combine tourism with activities that promote health.

The March 18 session brought together Roberta Medina, businesswoman and promoter of Rock in Rio, Juliet Kinsman, editor at Condé Nast and specialist in sustainable luxury, and Joana Vasconcelos, artist, on the same stage. The topic under discussion was how sustainability and culture are forces that define the tourist offer and how it is anticipated that they will increasingly be decisive in the choices we all make when we decide to travel.

 BTL: a stage dedicated to digitization, people and sustainability

The stage What's Next – Innovating Tourism at FIL had a daily schedule between March 16th and 18th. From digital solutions to new proposals for tourism, from talent management to inclusive tourism and sustainability as the cornerstone of the sector.

These were some of the featured topics:

The startup pitch – From events to analytics, from revenue management to new tourist offer proposals and the application of technologies to the various segments of tourism, startups took the stage every day to present their solutions for the sector.

WOW – a new cultural district in Vila Nova de Gaia that showcases the best of the region and the best of Portugal. The person responsible for the project, Adrian Bridge, recalled the importance of content, since tourism nowadays is much more than accommodation, it is necessary to know what you can do during a visit.

Emerging technologies at the service of tourism – Rute Cardoso, from Microsoft, recalled that a good experience is what makes us come back and that the metaverse, augmented reality or virtual reality are examples of technologies that make tourism more immersive.

5G and data as a growth factor – New experiences in tourism, namely those involving technology, will be greatly enhanced by the development and expansion of 5G technology, as explained by Miguel Adrego, team leader in new business and innovation at NOS. Also from NOS, José Maria Garret brought to the discussion the power of analytics, demonstrating how the evaluation of insights and information is an asset in any business,

The age of biometrics – Much of the tourist movement is carried out through airports and Aaron Beeson, Director of Innovation at ANA explained that the objective of the integration of new technology, namely biometrics, is to create a transformational process so that the airport experience is completely free, through the implementation of facial recognition systems.

Call Tourism – The “Call Tourism” program – carried out in partnership with Turismo de Portugal and NEST was the subject of intervention by Miguel Barbosa, Investment Director at Portugal Ventures., which aims to invest between 200 thousand and 1 million euros in non-technological and technological projects in the sector.

Financing for tourism – Bank financing for the sector was presented by Gonçalo Regalado, from Millenium BCP, who outlined how European support can reach SMEs. Focusing on the importance of the next 5 years, he highlighted the obligation to work in consortia and the change of value chains for eligibility for these funds.

Paulo Rodrigues Brito, from BPI, brought a more specific aspect, that of sustainable financing of tourism. This is also a goal of BPI, a bank that seeks to help companies in this transitional phase, in which there is regulatory pressure that adds to pressure on access to capital and stakeholders.

Transformative leadership with diversity, ethics and vision – Chitra Stern, from United Lisbon International School and Martinhal Group, shared her experience of working with an ecosystem for innovation, education and creativity, also for Tourism.

Manage and retain talent – José Paiva, co-founder and president of Landing Jobs, brought to the stage the theme of the future of work. The official discussed the changes in the concept of office, vacation, home for digital nomads and the new definitions of rules for combining vacations with remote work.

Digital skills and work – Remote work was also in focus in the intervention of António Neves, Industry Manager at Google, who analyzed the evolution of digital skills at work based on three trends: working in different places, valuing time and interpersonal relationships.

Innovation as a factor of cultural transformation – This was the topic of the speech by Ana Casaca, Director of Innovation at Galp, a company whose strategy is aimed at total decarbonization by 2050. A goal that means having a different portfolio from the current one and requires different lenses to look at the way forward. to go.

Portugal without barriers, an inclusive tourism - The size of the potential market for people with special access needs is 15% of the world's population, being the market segment that will grow the fastest, namely seniors. Nuno Leal, from Accessible Portugal, explained how the issue of accessibility crosses all tourist segments, from luxury to social tourism.

The Future of Sustainability is in Tourism  – Juliet Kinsman, Condé Nast editor and sustainable luxury consultant, focused on the climate emergency to argue for the need to reduce the use of water, energy, consume less meat and less dairy and increase the importance of local economies for the journalist and consultant, education for new behaviors will be decisive and tourism as a meeting place for people and cultures has a key role to play in the paradigm shift.

The role of companies – Margarida Couto, CEO of GRACE, the association that brings together more than 200 companies, presented the Sustainable Development Goals as the “soul” of sustainability and ESG the respective “body”. Sustainability is only possible with innovation, which, by definition, makes this a business challenge.

Leading change in mobility – The CEO of Via Verde, Pedro Mourisca, showed how throughout history digitization has been the work carried out to bring people closer and to change behaviors. The electrification of mobility and multimodality in transport are other challenges to be addressed from a tourist perspective.

Clean & Safe, from past to future – Leonor Picão, director at Turismo de Portugal, presented the “Clean and Safe” project, whose main objective is to make Portugal a safe and sustainable destination, something achieved through the training of companies in the sector to create a reliable destination for tourists. Tourists, but also trusted by the employees of these organizations.

“What's Next – Innovating Tourism” was also the stage for the presentation of three projects with an impact on the sector:

– Collaboration protocol between the Nova Medical School, NEST, Turismo de Portugal and the NGO Doctors of the World to help in the response to the humanitarian catastrophe as a result of the War in Ukraine, in an initiative based on the collaborative intelligence center “NEST HaT Lab @ NOVA Medical School”.

– Presentation of “The Journey”, an innovation program for the digital transition and energy transition developed by Beta I in partnership with Turismo de Portugal.

– Launch of Campanha "Disconnect" presented by Vítor Leal, president of Termas de Portugal.


Additional information and other approaches about the event:

- Innovation in Tourism with its own stage at BTL

- Debate on excellence in tourism innovation

- Startups innovate and reinvent Tourism

- Tourism: innovation in sustainability


More about the event:

BTL 2022 bets on new sectors, such as innovation, culture, wine tourism and nature tourism, but also gives continuity to areas such as the BTL LAB.

The BTL LAB, in charge of the NEST – Innovation Center for Tourism of Portugal, is a space dedicated to the dissemination of companies that work in the sector of innovation in tourism. In addition to showing startups, the LAB is an important stage for debate, trends and exchange of experiences on the subject of innovation and technology.

Its dynamism is based on complementary initiatives with the aim of thinking, debating and applying the future of tourism, an industry that seeks resurgence in a post-pandemic readaptation and which, in the Portuguese case, corresponds to almost 20% of GDP.

“What's Next – Innovating Tourism” is an event promoted by NEST – Centro de Inovação do Turismo, organized by the The Next Big Idea, an innovation platform, and relying on the SIC and the Express as partners of medium.

All information about the event is available at https://www.whatsnexttourism.pt/


About NEST:

Non-Profit Private Association, founded on 18 February 2019 by eight entities – Turismo de Portugal, ANA Aeroportos, Brisa Via Verde, Google, Microsoft, Millennium BCP, NOS and BPI. Its strategic pillars are cultural innovation, digital knowledge and pilot projects for the sector.

About BTL:

promoted by AIP Foundation33th edition of BTL – from 16 to 20 March – aims to reinforce its status as the largest tourism event held in Portugal, contributing decisively to the recovery of this important sector of the Portuguese economy. It brings together in one space more than 1.400 exhibitors and more than 70.000 visitors, of which 35.000 are professionals.


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