PRESS RELEASE | 27.05.2021


Strategic Road Map and proposed actions for the digital transformation of Greek tourism

Study conducted by Accenture for INSETE

  • Five key pillars and twelve strategic actions to accelerate the digital transformation of the tourism industry
  • The development of an effective support framework and the synergies between the private and public sectors are a catalyst for the adoption of digital technologies

The digital transformation of Greek tourism may be achieved through the adoption of a Strategic Road Map –which includes the implementation of a series of initiatives based on five key action pillars– and accelerated through the parallel development of an effective support framework for enterprises in that direction.

The five pillars that will significantly contribute to the enhancement of the tourism product and to the subsequent overall increase of the sector’s competitiveness can be summarized as follows: the creation of a data hub, the establishment of a digital identity, the development of smart destinations and enterprises, and the enhancement of digital skills.

These are the main conclusions of the study undertaken by INSETE and Accenture under the title “The Digital Transformation of Greek Tourism – A Strategic Road Map”, which was presented on Thursday, 27 May 2021.

Tourism and the pandemic: a need to shift from conventional tourism to smart tourism

The tourism sector is called upon to face significant challenges which have become more demanding due to the pandemic. The need for digital transformation has become more pressing and 95% of tourism enterprises worldwide are already attempting to introduce new technologies in order to confront the new environment, meet emerging needs and create an innovative competitiveness base. Turning to account new digital technologies, tourism enterprises have to take the step from basic digitalization to the smart use of data in order to create new products and services. This can be achieved through the use of technologies that transform the tourism sector, such as artificial intelligence, biometrics, the blockchain, the cloud, the internet of things, data analytics, augmented reality, etc.


Strategic Road Map: 5 pillars and 12 proposed digital initiatives

In the context of the study, five key pillars for the digital transformation of the tourism industry were identified:

  • Pillar #1 | Data Hub

The first key pillar pertains to the creation of a data hub for the entire tourism ecosystem (private enterprises, government organizations, NGOs, etc.) for a wide range of business uses and analytics (big/open data). The data hub offers standardized data collection mechanisms, a logical data flow, as well as data transparency and security as far as the tourism sector is concerned. Data can be used by and offer significant benefits to the participants in the tourism ecosystem. Examples include the collection of data which lead to an understanding of visitor preferences and, hence, to appropriate business decisions, demand forecasts, which facilitate the optimization of fixed assets management, and the assimilation of the effectiveness of various online marketing channels, which further enhances the optimization of promotional campaigns.

  • Pillar #2 | Digital Identity

The digital identity collects digital information on visitors (e.g. vaccination certificate, boarding pass, passport, travel preferences, etc.) in one place and its creation ensures a contactless travel experience that –in the short term– could contribute to the recovery of tourism activity by providing more security. It could also improve the visitors’ travel experience in the long term, by saving them time in the course of their trip –through fast and automated check-in services at the entry gates– and providing them with personalized services.

  • Pillar #3 | Smart Destinations

The development of smart destinations initially involves the creation of an application which is the visitor’s reference point regarding the destination. Through this application, visitors can easily complete the processes of booking and ticketing, securely purchasing travel products/services, and gathering data and information in general. Additionally, it includes the tourism platform, which connects suppliers with visitors at a single point of contact and along the entire travel chain, providing a one-stop-shop experience. Smart attractions –which enrich the visitors’ experience– are another feature of this pillar. Within this pillar, great importance is attached to the enhancement of destination sustainability through the use of IoT and AI technologies for the optimization of energy, waste, water, and transportation management, as well as for monitoring resource management and environmental pollution.

  • Pillar #4 | Smart Enterprises

The creation of smart enterprises will be greatly assisted by the transition to Digital Operations which are activated through Property Management Systems (PMS) and Revenue Management Systems (RMS), bringing significant financial benefits. Another very important aspect is the enhancement of Digital Marketing through multiple distribution channels and the use of Digital Assistants as an essential tool to assist travellers through the automation of processes and the redeployment of staff to higher added-value operations. More specifically, Smart Accommodation and Smart Airports could –by embracing appropriate technology– ensure the optimization of internal operations and an increase in revenue, by providing enhanced customer experiences and targeted marketing proposals.

  • Pillar #5 | Digital Skills

The coordination and management of the training of the tourism workforce is a key prerequisite for the adoption of digital technologies in the sector and can be achieved through the creation of a digital skills training centre with the contribution of both the private and the public sectors. Essential digital skills include as a minimum: customer service, data analysis, big data, business intelligence, digital security, social media, digital marketing, online booking and revenue management, website development, location-based tracking, cloud computing, tracking of online reviews, use of CRM, ERP & PMS, development of VR and AR experiences, production and publishing tools.

An effective support framework accelerates the adoption of digital technologies

The digital transformation of Greek tourism can be achieved through the implementation of the above-mentioned vertical and horizontal actions, significantly contributing to the subsequent enhancement of the tourism product. Creating an effective support framework that will focus on five pillars –Digital Infrastructure, Legal/Regulatory Framework, Funding, Technical Support, and Security– will significantly accelerate the adoption of digital technologies by enterprises. A key factor for the successful development of the support framework is the creation of synergies between the private and public sectors.

The country’s digital maturity

According to the 2020 DESI index of the European Union, Greece is ranked 27th among the 28 member states, which underlines the country’s lack of digital maturity in comparison with other European countries. Accenture’s study for INSETE –in which primary and secondary data were used– produced similar conclusions, confirming that Greek enterprises are still in the early stages of their digital journey. According to the results of structured interviews with a selected sample of enterprises, participants recognize the importance of adopting digital technologies for the competitiveness of their business and the tourism sector as a whole and state their intent to utilize at least one digital technology in the following years.

From the above, the need is clear for a Strategic Road Map to be adopted and for horizontal solutions to be implemented which can accelerate the adoption of digital technologies by the specific sector.

Following the presentation of the study, a discussion was held with the participation of Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis, SETE’s President Yiannis Retsos, Accenture’s Managing Director and CEO Kyriacos Sabatakakis, and INSETE’s General Manager Elias Kikilias.

Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Digital Governance, applauded the initiative of SETE, INSETE and Accenture to conduct the study, pointing out that the government intends to encourage public-private partnerships to undertake a large number of projects in the field of informatics in the near future. He also pointed out that 5G –which has been at the core of the government’s strategy from day one– will have a decisive impact on the tourism ecosystem. In this regard, he estimated that 5G networks will be covering 94% of the country’s population in 5.5 years. Moreover, the minister spoke about Greece’s role in the realization of the Digital Green Certificate at a European level. The certificate will act as a fast track for all European citizens. The official presentation of the certificate in Greece will be held tomorrow in the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas.

“The economic and social environment which has evolved during the pandemic has enhanced the need for a faster adaptation to the digital world. Digital transformation has already begun and the Strategic Road Map –with the proposed digital actions– comes at a time when we are called upon to elevate our newborn digital self-confidence into a digital vision. Both the acceleration of recovery and the improvement of tourism sustainability depend on the adoption of new technologies. Using the establishment of partnerships as our spearhead and leaving no one behind, we shall turn to account all available tools to achieve our goals in a very challenging international environment,” said, among other things, SETE President Yiannis Retsos in his speech.

Kyriacos Sabatakakis, Managing Director and CEO of Accenture, said: “We are presented with an ideal opportunity to expand the dynamics and global impact of the Greek tourism industry by unlocking trapped value throughout the tourism ecosystem and value chain. The combination of the actions we are proposing –through new and enhanced digital services– can improve the overall experience for visitors, by re-assessing ways to attract and serve them, enhancing their sense of security, and optimizing the costs for enterprises. To achieve this, the cooperation of all parties involved and the successful adoption of the proposed digital actions, in the context of a long-term vision with an emphasis on the visitor’s experience and the quality of life that Greece can offer, will be the keys to success.”

Elias Kikilias, General Manager of INSETE, said: “Digital transformation emerges as a strategic factor for the enhancement of our country’s tourism ecosystem. INSETE and Accenture together seek to capture international best practices, assess the current situation, and present a Strategic Road Map and a series of actions toward the digital transformation of Greek tourism. We hope that today’s event will mark the beginning of constructive deliberations for the identification of specific essential policies and for the establishment of an effective support framework for destinations and enterprises.”

For further information, please follow the links below:

Complete Study by INSETE & Accenture (only in Greek)

Executive Summary (only in Greek)

Video of presentation & discussion (only in Greek)