The tourism industry will be able to call on the CoE in Tourism Innovation centre of excellence, a public-private partnership designed to drive innovation, sustainability and competitiveness in destinations and businesses through applied research, innovation, knowledge transfer and competitive intelligence services.

The CoE in Tourism Innovation is sponsored by the Eurecat technology centre with the backing of the Government of Catalonia’s Directorate General for Tourism, the four Catalan provincial councils, Barcelona and Vila-seca councils and industry-leading businesses.

CoE in Tourism Innovation promoters include Barcelona Turisme, the Catalan Tourism Agency, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona, Avant Grup, Avoris, Baqueira/Beret, Best Hotels, CaixaBank, CONFECAT, Fira de Barcelona, La Pedrera-Casa Milà, Grupo Julià, Guitart Hotels, La Roca Village, MedPlaya, Oh!Tels, PortAventura World, ROC Roi and Sangulí Salou.

The initiative addresses the entire value chain of the tourism industry and related businesses, society as a whole and residents in tourism destinations.

The CoE in Tourism Innovation has been set up to drive innovation and technological development as tools for efficient management, promote innovative projects and foster the international reach of the solutions developed through partnerships with world-class international businesses and organisations. It will also foster knowledge sharing and generating new initiatives with a regular programme of promotional and publicity activities, publications and flagship events. In addition, it will support destinations and businesses in strategic, sustainable and responsible planning of products, services and policies.

Committed to generating an outstanding environment for creating value through tourism R&D, the new centre will address five work strands: innovation, responsibility and sustainability, smart tourism systems, digital transformation and talent.

Over 11% of GDP and nearly 14% of jobs

The tourism industry contributes 10% of world GDP. In Catalonia it accounts for more than 11% of GDP and nearly 14% of employment at over 400,000 jobs according to figures in the Catalan Tourism Marketing Plan 2018-2022.

In the coming years it will face the challenges of greater dynamism tied to increased decentralisation, diversification, year-round tourism and revenue; a greater commitment to sustainability, including lessening social impact and enhanced capacity management; and a rise in innovation involving a range of segments, products and markets, the introduction of technology and entrepreneurship.