#DTTT Blog

The first day of X. Festival is over, which is like saying that we have gone through 20% of the programme.

As you can well imagine, there is still a lot to be explored. 

Let’s recap on what we have seen today, on X. Disrupt.

Alex Herrmann, Director of UK & Ireland at Switzerland Tourism, has first presented what is unique about Switzerland. Thanks again, Alex and Switzerland Tourism for making us feel at home

Hege Vibeke Barnes from Innovation Norway NY has shared with us so many different best practices on how to combine sustainability and innovation. Norway is home of some of the most clever and ambitious creations, like the underwater restaurant which serves both as a resource for marine biologists to study aquatic life and an incredible experience for visitors to experience something unique.

Sergio Guerreiro, Director of Turismo De Portugal has provided us with an NTO perspective on data and innovation to boost growth in the destination. He talked about 'Tourism 4.0' in four pillars. He explains that facilitating innovation in the tourism sector is not easy, however, your effort will pay off. You need to provide specialised services to startups, advise them on financial investments, support them to participate in opportunities and help them to get access to national and international mentors.

Joshua Ryan-Saha explained that one of the key opportunities, but also challenges, for the sector is data collaboration. This is one of the key areas that Traveltech for Scotland focuses on, for example, by partnering with farms, to combine data and technology in farming, besides collaborations and cooperation in tourism.

Benoit and Pashû from thecamp have told us that it is important to build an ecosystem that supports sustainable values. Being able to experiment with different actors in the region is key to prototyping different ideas related to sustainable solutions in tourism, for example by partnering with the nearest train station and mobility organisation. Likewise, for the local region and environment, you need to be able to form partnerships to set up prototypes, test and learn from the environment around us.

From Yves Pang (IBM), Ségolène Martin (Kantify) and Stefan Costeur (SNCB) we learnt that there are many exciting opportunities to leverage the potential of technology, whether it is AI, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality or the smart use of data. If we consider these technologies in the context of user realities, we can transform the way in which we experience the world around us, building incredible experiences in spite of challenges.

Saniya Shah is the founder of Pilota and has explained that her startup was founded upon the problems experienced by users today and the lack of confidence around booking due to the current pandemic. Pilota uses state of the art machine learning algorithms to predict flight delays and cancellations and gets travellers a new flight for free when disruptions are expected. This technology allows people to spend less time at the airport and more time at their destination, giving the possibility to explore more.

Lizzie Russell has explained to us how what3words works. what3words does something very simple here - it converts complex geo-coordinates into simple three-word addresses. what3words isn't only about solving an existential human problem, they're also seeing the technology used creatively too.

We continue the day with another amazing female tech entrepreneur: Akemi Tsunagawa. Looking at the wide range of queries coming through chatbots helps the team at Bebot craft a better response. Instead of just giving data and figures to answer simple questions, Bebot aims to respond to their actual needs at that moment in time.

Anne Biging, from Healing Hotels of the World, explains that out of this crisis, we have to create a completely new set of desires. The world has changed and we need to accept this: healing and health is now a priority for everybody. We need to think about the psychological effects of travel when we design products. She speaks about the need to create a new value system not only within our economy but within our world at large.

Lola Åkerström explains that diversity shouldn't be a bad word. It helps us enrich whatever we are doing with a more inclusive broader view of the world around us. If we take on board the experiences and views of many different cultures, we become stronger, with a broader perspective. It is always important to get a bigger picture of the place, by diversifying the storytellers who paint a bigger picture of that place.

Rachel Ferguson, Visit Philadelphia, deliver an amazing piece of content. With the belief that Philadelphia grows through its diversity, they decided to take a stand by creating web content and providing tools to help travellers support black and brown owned businesses. This continues to be a priority for Visit Philadelphia, making a statement with their media and brand assets and driving campaigns to directly increase footfall to black and brown owned business.

Matthijs Keij, CEO Withlocals as explained how Tech can work as an Enabler for Inclusivity and Empowerment. We brought us to Amsterdam, where we met a local guide and he told us the value of genuine and authentic local experiences, delivered through digital tools.

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