Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world that is fueling growth, creating jobs, opening up business opportunities for SMES and providing pathways out of poverty for millions. According to the UNWTO, the tourism sector accounted for 10% of global GDP, 10% of total employment worldwide and 7% of the world’s exports equivalent to USD 1.4 trillion in 2016. International tourist arrivals have increased from 25 million in 1950 to 1.235 billion in 2016 and tourism receipts attained USD 1.220 trillion. It is forecasted that by 2030 international tourist arrivals would reach 1.8. billion. For many countries, especially developing and least developed ones, tourism is a major economic pillar and an important source of foreign currency earnings. Governments across the world are leveraging on tourism as an engine of economic growth and a driver for economic diversification.

However, the tourism industry is faced with a number of challenges that will characterize its future development such as climate change, digitalisation and sustainability. Digitalisation and tourism success are inherently and intrinsically linked. The rapid progress in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is fast transforming tourism globally, creating opportunities and challenges for destinations and tourism businesses. During the last decade, the tourism industry has witnessed the transformational effect of ICT in terms of wider scope for global interaction between national and international players and for promoting Sustainable Tourism. Destinations, however, have yet to harness the full opportunities offered by ICT and the digitalisation process to foster the sustainability of the industry.

The Conference, which will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Independence of Mauritius, will bring together high level policy makers including Ministers of Tourism, CEOs of Tourism Boards, specialists, academics and experts to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation for the tourism industry. The Conference will be interactive and provide an excellent forum for exchanging views and sharing best practices.