Spain Savvy at the Tourism Innovation Summit in Seville

From November 25-27, Seville hosted the global event «Tourism Innovation Summit» at its FIBES conference center, a pivotal moment in the rebirth of tourism post-COVID that we were lucky to experience in our home city.

Throughout the three days, Spain Savvy attended roundtables, conferences and discussions with other tourism professionals on topics like «Think Global, Act Local», «Customer Insights after COVID-19», and «Using the Lessons from COVID to Rebound Faster and Achieve More Successful Tourism».  Many of the talks were focussed on how the private and public sectors can collaborate to recover from the COVID crash, and we hope those connections will truly be made over the next months as travelers begin to return.

Keynote Speech by Doug Lansky

Travel and Tourism guru Doug Lansky started off the conference with the keynote address and spoke of how destination management professionals should shift the focus from quantity to quality when it comes to measuring the success of tourism in a city or destination.  He urged us to look at how tourism can impact a local society in positive ways (experiential travel, economic recovery, cultural exchange) and also to use this down time to investigate ways to combat the negative impacts that too many visitors can have on a city and its inhabitants.  For instance – in the case of Seville – can we use creative technological systems to control the amount of daily visitors to the city’s major monuments, in the same way that Disney diverts crowds?  Can we focus on creating VIP entry times that allow for more exclusivity and thus reducing the throngs of people that sometimes plague our city?  We must remember that in these cases, less can definitely be more.  These are considerations that we sincerely hope are being made during this time of reflection and preparation.  Spain Savvy is especially grateful to Mr. Lansky for bringing his thoughtful ideas to the forefront and providing perspective to destination managers for moving forward.

Doug’s suitcase got delayed on his way to Seville so he gave his keynote address in jeans and a unicorn T-shirt!

Innovation in Tourism Technology

Many new technological products were presented throughout the three days.  One that stuck with us, that wasn’t even on the docket for an official presentation, but was mentioned by a speaker on one of the panels, was the company Driveando, offering radio-guided tours with your own car, currently operating in Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Lanzarote.

«Driveando is a new system of guided tours to which you must take your own vehicle. The excursion is led by a “Viper”, a guide-car with all the necessary material to make the event a success. Customers are always connected with the Viper listening to the explanations or solving their doubts through a two-way communication system.»

What a fabulous and innovative solution for offering safe guided tours, especially during these uncertain times.  Once we are back up and running, we’d love for one of our first clients to give them a try!

Overall, the TIS event was a huge success for the organizers, including the Seville Tourism Board and the FIBES staff, and they deserve the highest recognition for the coordination of the event with all the right measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the attendees, which included rapid COVID antigen tests for all – results arriving almost immediately via app and checked throughout the event.

The yellow circled lady is Queen Letizia who spoke at the event’s opening day (her husband the King was supposed to but she stepped in for him since he was in quarantine for a COVID exposure – a true sign of the times). This was my one opportunity to get a selfie with her under the social distancing conditions!

The Future of TIS in Seville

TIS will be held in Seville for the next 10 years and we are looking forward to next year’s event.  On a personal note, after so many months of being home-bound and our business essentially grinding to a halt, it was morale-boosting to mingle with colleagues and industry friends once more, and to lean on each other for support in these trying times.

If you’re starting to think about your own 2021 travel adventures (for when it’s safe to travel again), please reach out to us to begin work on your very own Spain Savvy customized itinerary.  We look forward to hearing from you!