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Mar 20, 2022

Innovation in Tourism is the laboratory of 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 - What's Next - Innovating Tourism", an event promoted by NEST - Center for Tourism Innovation, 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 evenings were dedicated to themed sessions outside BTL to which speakers from 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 Pessoa 2021 Prize winner, and João Wengrovius Meneses, Secretary General of the Business Council for Sustainable Development, were the guests at the first session, on January 14, which discussed why the future of tourism is to be sustainable.

The CEO of the Oceano Azul Foundation considered that the 21st century will be marked by the Environmental Revolution and will be the century of sustainability, but warned against the risk of the squandering of natural capital, pointing out that Portugal's marine and terrestrial biodiversity and the management of ecosystems and nature conservation are a tourist asset due to their preservation.

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

On January 15th, the digital revolution brought together Inês Drummond Borges, Sonae Sierra's Chief Transformation Officer, and António Câmara, Chairman of YGroup. For Inês Borges Drummond, differentiation doesn't 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 in the Internet that is being designed and that will allow us to explore the real world.

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

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

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

 BTL: a stage dedicated to digitalization, people and sustainability

The stage What's Next - Innovating Tourism at FIL featured a daily program between March 16 and 18. From digital solutions to new proposals for tourism, from talent management to inclusive tourism and sustainability as the sector's mainstay.

These were some of the topics highlighted:

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

WOW - a new cultural district in Vila Nova de Gaia that presents the best of the region and the best of Portugal. The head of the project, Adrian Bridge, pointed out the importance of content, since tourism today is much more than accommodation, you need 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 keeps us coming back and that the metaverseaugmented reality and virtual reality are examples of technologies that make tourism more immersive.

5G and data as a growth factor - New experiences in tourism, particularly those involving technology, will be greatly enhanced by the development and expansion of 5G technologyas explained by Miguel Adrego, team leader for 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 - A large part of the tourist movement is carried out through airports and Aaron Beeson, ANA's Director of Innovation, explained that the aim of integrating 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 Turism" program - carried out in partnership with Turismo de Portugal and NEST - was the subject of a speech by Miguel Barbosa, Investment Director at Portugal Ventures, which aims to invest between 200,000 and 1 million euros in non-technological and technological projects in the sector.

Financing tourism - Gonçalo Regalado, from Millenium BCP, presented bank financing for the sector and explained how European support can reach SMEs. Focusing on the importance of the next five years, he highlighted the obligation to work in consortia and the change in value chains in order to be eligible for these funds.

Paulo Rodrigues Brito, from BPI, brought up a more specific aspect, that of sustainable tourism financing. 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 is compounded by pressure on access to capital and the stakeholders.

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

Managing and retaining talent - José Paiva, co-founder and president of Landing Jobs, took to the stage to talk about the future of work. He discussed the changes in the concept of the office, vacations, the home for digital nomads and the new definitions of rules for combining vacations with remote work.

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

Innovation as a factor in cultural transformation - This was the theme of the speech by Ana Casaca, Director of Innovation at Galp, a company whose strategy aims to achieve total decarbonization by 2050. A goal that means having a different portfolio from the current one and requires different lenses to look at the road ahead.

Portugal without barriers, inclusive tourism The size of the potential market for people with special access needs is 15% of the world's population, and the fastest growing segment of the market is seniors. Nuno Leal, from Accessible Portugal, explained how the issue of accessibility cuts across all tourism 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 the need to reduce the use of water, energy, consume less meat and dairy products and increase the importance of local economies For the journalist and consultant, education for new behaviors will be decisive and tourism as a place where people and cultures meet 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 the ESGs as its "body". Sustainability is only possible with innovation, which, by definition, makes this a business challenge.

Leading change in mobility - Via Verde's CEO, Pedro Mourisca, showed how throughout history digitalization has been the work done to get closer to people and change behaviours. The electrification of mobility and multimodality in transport are other challenges to be met from a tourist perspective.

Clean & Safe, from the past to the future - Leonor Picão, director of Turismo de Portugal, presented the "Clean and Safe" project, whose main objective is to make Portugal a safe and sustainable destination, something achieved by training companies in the sector to create a destination that is trustworthy for tourists, but also trustworthy for 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 Nova Medical School, NEST, Turismo de Portugal and the NGO Médicos do Mundo to help respond to the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from 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 campaign "Turn it off" presented by Vítor Leal, president of Termas de Portugal.


Additional information and other approaches to the event:

Innovation in Tourism with its own stage at BTL

Debate of excellence in tourism innovation

Startups innovate and reinvent tourism

Tourism: innovation in sustainability


More about the event:

BTL 2022 is betting on new sectors, such as innovation, culture, wine tourism and nature tourism, but it is also continuing areas such as BTL LAB.

The BTL LAB, run by NEST - Innovation Center of Turismo de Portugalis a space dedicated to showcasing companies working in the tourism innovation sector. As well as showcasing startups, the LAB is an important stage for debate, trends and the exchange of experiences on the subject of innovation and technology.

Its dynamization is based on complementary initiatives with the aim of thinking, debating and applying the future of tourism, an industry that is looking for 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 Next Big Ideainnovation platform, and counting on the SIC and Expresso as partners in media.

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


About NEST:

Private non-profit association, founded on February 18, 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 Foundation, a 33rd edition of BTL - from March 16 to 20 - aims to reinforce its status as the largest tourism event held in Portugal, making a decisive contribution to the recovery of this important sector of the Portuguese economy. It brings together more than 1,400 exhibitors and more than 70,000 visitors, 35,000 of whom are professionals.



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