Digitalization is a revolution, changing all the factors involved in added value and impacting on everyone's workplace. And this applies to tourism too. For the EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, illustrating this fact, and the enormous challenges accompanying massive technological changes throughout the world, is a vital feature of the ITB Future Day at the ITB Berlin Convention. And it is equally important to provide assurances that politicians will face up to their responsibilities, make sure that the necessary infrastructure is available, create suitable conditions for fair competition, regulate data security in an appropriate way, and promote research and the interests of small and medium sized businesses.
And above all there is the subject of connectivity: Oettinger referred to the provision of twelve-lane data highways and comprehensive global coverage with 5G from 2020. Negotiations aimed at achieving this, with partners in Europe, South Korea, Japan and China, are already well advanced. Just as the EU has its single market, so the 28 individual countries' specific data protection directives are to be replaced as soon as possible by pan-European regulation. Tourists in particular will benefit from this "illimitability" of the networks, because connectivity is now one of the factors that determines the value of destinations, real estate and businesses in the leisure sector.
Because this digitalization demands not only far-reaching expertise but also levels of investment that may strain the capabilities of many small and medium sized businesses in the holiday industry, Oettinger is appealing to the industry associations: "It will be an important task for the associations to advise, to monitor and to support their members in their efforts to improve the range of digital services."