Key takeaways from the 2nd edition of Future of Tourism Summit in Sri Lanka

Euromonitor International presented at the Future of Tourism Summit 2017 on World Tourism Day, 26th September 2017. Organised by the leading hospitality chain in Sri Lanka, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is committed to spearhead the growth and sustainability of the region’s travel industry. The summit gathered global travel experts as well as local stakeholders to share global trends and impact in tourism sector, and to discuss solutions on future growth in Sri Lanka.

Looking to accelerate the favourable outlook of Sri Lanka as one of the best destinations in Asia, Head of Leisure at John Keells Krishan Balendran expressed that the country is on a “rapid growth trajectory”. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also addressed to the audience of 400 participants from travel sector that they need to rethink their branding and marketing strategies on Sri Lanka. With its strategic location in Asia, Sri Lanka is fast becoming the next tourism hub, riding on the rapid economic growth and rising number of Asian travellers in the region. Moreover, focusing on this year’s theme of “Technology, Innovation and Authenticity”, tomorrow’s travellers, artificial intelligence and strategies on hospitality were major topics among the other thirteen global speakers.

Technology, Innovation and Authenticity

Brekke Fletcher, executive editor of CNN Travel talked about Tomorrow’s Travellers in her keynote presentation. Global travellers constantly seeks inspiration, information and connection through travel, and social media plays a critical role in their journey. People are increasingly influenced by beautiful images, engaging stories and authentic experiences. To create connection with audience, travel marketers need to make content personal, fun and joyful.

Spotlights at the summit were put on the latest innovations in tourism industry — artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Brand ambassadors from TrendOne, based in Germany, shared case studies of how AI technology has adapted into industries around the world. They include facial recognition at KFC kiosks in Beijing, virtual reality Eurostar Odyssey headset and voice-powered hotel booking through Kayak on Amazon’s Alexa. In addition, an interactive installation of Future Space showcased live demonstrations with a robot that has been introduced in Seoul’s international airport, helping travellers check-in and directions guidance.

Other speakers from well-respected global travel business including booking.com, Minor Hotel Group, and Google discussed about hotel marketing, value of videos and mobile to travel audience and personalisation of guest experiences. A themed message concluded that creating detailed moments that bringing convenience and exceeding expectations of customers is the key takeaway strategy. Mobile is the crucial touch point to reach travel audience. Whereas, technology of applications, use of data analytics and inspirational content drive the engagement of the channel.

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