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Tourism Innovation Summit 2021: Restart masterclass

Silvia Avilés, Director of TIS2021 is in the Accom News Q&A hot seat: What are the ongoing challenges?

Due to the global pandemic, the tourism industry is facing down its most difficult period in decades. The 2021 Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS2021) to be held in Seville, Spain NOV 10-12, 2021 aims to help the sector face the ongoing challenges of reactivation and building travellers’ confidence.

Seville will host the three days of disruptive masterclasses to help tourism businesses become more competitive and, more importantly, restart the new ways of travel.


Silvia Avilés in the hot seat: Tourism Innovation Summit


Silvia Avilés, Director, Tourism Innovation Summit is in the Accom News hot seat, answering your questions about the summit, the tourism industry and the challenges ahead.

What can attendees expect to see when attending TIS 2021?

TIS – Tourism Innovation Summit 2021 is the global summit aimed to bring innovation and technology to travel and tourism professionals. From 10 to 12 November 2021 in Seville (Spain), TIS2021 will bring together the decision-makers of the tourism industry to discuss and define strategies to boost the reactivation of the travel industry.

An international conference takes place in order to inspire travel, share ideas, trends, strategies and successful experiences through 8 vertical forums (Destinations of the Future; Hospitality Tech Forum; Travel & Mobility; Activities & Attractions; Distribution Channels; Leisure & Culture; Business Travel; and MICE), together with specific agendas for each professional profile (CEOs, CIOs, CMOs, DMCs or Revenue Managers, among others). More than 400 speakers will share their knowledge and success stories on reactivation, recovering travellers’ trust, digitalisation, sustainability and inclusive tourism.

Also, all the tourism professionals attending TIS2021 will discover the latest solutions, innovations and technologies in a showroom where to find the right partner to innovate and boost the competitiveness of their businesses or destination.

Tourism Innovation Summit becomes a unique and boutique event in which to define the roadmap of the future and restart the new ways of travel.

What types of companies will be exhibiting at TIS2021?

In three days, TIS2021 will present the latest technologies and innovations to 5,000 C-Level executives who are looking for a tech partner to innovate with solutions such as Artificial Intelligence, Data & Analytics, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Contactless Experience, Marketing Automation, CRM, Machine Learning, Biometrics Technology, VR/AR, Sustainability, management solutions, strategy consultants, Hygiene & Safety, Online Reputation, or Experience Solutions, among others.

Some of the exhibiting companies that will be showcasing their innovative solutions at TIS are Accenture, Amadeus, CaixaBank, City Sightseeing Worldwide, Deloitte, EY, ForwardKeys, Mabrian, Mastercard, Telefónica, Cloudbeds, Convertix, Minsait by Indra, Orange or PastView, among many others.

From an event management perspective, do you see events going back to normal in 2022?

Nothing will be exactly the same as before but we are certainly seeing that the ones that are more resilient and investing in innovation are the ones that will survive. We need to meet to create trust between organizations and teams. I am sure that in-person events are back for good but redefined with a real value proposition and attending the needs of the visitors and companies with more reasons to attend. We need to work into creating memorable experiences and spaces to drive business opportunities face-to-face. There is nothing such as powerful as in-person events to establish trust relationships. In-person social relationships allow for a type of communication between professionals that virtual cannot compete yet today, such as discussions, sharing, interacting, reacting, gesticulating, emotionalising, empathising… key elements on business relations.

For that reason, I don’t think hybrid events will become the standard. The MICE sector are based on experiences, knowledge, creating relationships, having fun, smiling and we will increasingly look for much more personalised and authentic meetings.

In fact, our company NEBEXT, organizers of TIS – Tourism Innovation Summit 2021 and many other B2B events, we have already celebrated seven in-person events since September 2020, after the lockdown in Spain. We have demonstrated that face-to-face events are necessary to reactivate the industry and recover contact with clients and other professionals within the sector.


What do you think the tourism industry needs to focus on for COVID recovery?

Precisely, this edition of TIS2021 focuses on five key drivers we think will define tourism recovery. Restarting tourism must be accompanied by a value proposition where health and safety are assured. We have seen for the first time our industry working collaboratively and rethinking tourism models as we have never seen before, forced by the situation and world context, but also by significant changing consumer demands.

A key element in achieving this goal is trust. Workable strategies and tactics to build more reliable travel experiences will become essential to articulate communication around them. In addition, obtaining the appropriate information from each and every traveller profile will become gold for the industry in order to meet all the needs of new demands. In that sense, understanding the diversity of people to create an inclusive tourism value proposition is imperative with a high potential for business opportunities for our industry.

Another phenomenon that the pandemic has accelerated is the perception of sustainability not only as an idea but as a basis for any strategy that impacts tourism profitability. As we are very committed to promoting the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN as well as EU Agenda 2030, we want to contribute to sharing sustainable developments on tourism since it will gain more and more prominence from now on.

But to achieve all of that it is necessary to digitalise the tourism businesses and take advantage of new technologies and innovation that helps to create unique experiences and adapt to this changing new era.

How do you see the next 2 to 3 years playing out for the tourism sector?

The tourism industry is going through a very deep transformation in which digital and sustainable will become part of the mission and challenge of any tourism company or destination. We need to work into a much more personalised and authentic proposal to travellers. So, we think that the future of the upcoming years will be more digital, more personalised, more sustainable and more inclusive. These are the main challenges nowadays of any tourism business or destination and that will define the new ways of travel.

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