Last week, the muscle of the Tourism sector gathered at the school of Hospitality and Tourism in Lisbon. Representatives from Turismo de Portugal, TimeOut Market, Pestana Hotels & Resorts, and Beta-i (among others!) came together to talk about where the next disruption in the industry will come from and how Portugal can align itself to be responsive to changing tastes and need.
The key theme that emerged from the event was that although technology and innovation would be key tools to keep Portugal at the global forefront, it is necessary to stay focused on the needs of the consumer rather than just use technology for the sake of technology.
Carlos Abade, of Turismo de Portugal opened the event discussing how Turismo de Portugal has been supporting and responding to the needs of startups in Tourism. Technology is, of course, at the heart of this, which led to a discussion on Smart Destinations and the future of Lisbon in this field with representatives from NOS and Conteúdo Chave, among others on the panel.
“A smart destination is the one that exceeds expectations” Luís Barata from NOS
After a series of startup pitches, Tech strong-(wo)man and Cisco GM, Sofia Tenreiro, took the stage to talk about the rising expectations of tech within tourism. She proceeded to demonstrate this by making the necessary addition of wifi to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
At Beta-i, we can see the value added to a startup when it works with a larger corporate, it can help with marketplace validation, getting the first big client, scaling up, the list goes on and on. So this next panel brought together startups and Corporates to discuss on stage the benefits and risks of these partnerships.
The most tourist-y panel was next with Francisca Van Zeller, a wine producer from Quinta Vale D. Maria and Joana Cardoso from EGEAC, discussing marketing Portuguese Culture as a Product. Ana Alcobia, GM from Time Out Market, was able to add depth to this discussion in her keynote presentation as she told the story of the Time Out Market and the philosophy that guides the curation of the businesses there:
“The Time Out Market is made for locals and that’s why we have 70% of tourists coming there”.
Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, ended the fall edition of Tourism Day 2016, with a round up of initiatives that her office is pursuing to support startups. There was overwhelming support shown to startups from all the government figures present and a sense that new disruptive technology would lead the way forward for the industry.