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ITB Trendcasts: Generative AI seems to be overtaking other future technologies

Digital Innovations will continue to play an essential role in transforming the global travel industry. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and the Metaverse have become major topics of innovation already at the ITB Convention 2023. And they continue to outperform. As it seems six months later, it is mainly Generative AI that is massively transforming from a hype to a core technology in the travel industry.

ChatGPT and other applications with Generic AI provide valid use cases for the travel industry. The child is growing, no longer delivering accuracy and real-time internet search, says digital expert Leila Summa, Managing Director PlayToChange. At the ITB Convention in March 2023, she declared ChatGPT to be a nine-year-old child. But the development is rapid.

So far only one out of ten is using Generative Artificial Intelligence such as ChatGPT or Google Bard. The technology will become more essential as more users continue to see main benefits. And that is what happens currently. “To be honest. In the short-term we’ll see more revolutionary things in the field of ASIin Blockchain technologies”, states Alexander Knauer, Professor for Blockchain at the University of Applied Science in Mittwaida (Germany).

And how about Blockchain?
Blockchain seems to be still further away from mass market identification. “We are still in the middle of a hypecycle”, states Knauer. That is the status only September 2023. The outlook is different. Knauer is monitoring increased effectivities in Digital Identities and Tokens, two of many technologies in the wide field of Blockchain. Tokens could become another option for ticketing, an option for the travel industry. “In ten years, the ticketing process will be completely different”, Knauer says.

This also applies to the Metaverse, another hot digital topic at ITB 2023. Compared to the rapid establishment of AI, progress is steady rather than fast. According to a recent study by market research company Euromonitor, 53 % of Millennials already enjoy Metaverse applications. However, acceptance among older generations seems to be significantly lower.

For now, real life experiences are preferred
“The travel industry in rebound ad recovery. Most of older generations are more interested in real life experiences right now”, says Caroline Bremner, Senior Industry Manager at Euromonitor. While other industries such as fashion and luxury are already moving their business into the virtual world, progress in the travel industry is rather slow.

It is foreseeable that this will change. “Within a couple of years, we will all be in the Metaverse”, says Caroline Bremner. Both technical progress and climate change will be catalysator for it. Metaverse can become very serious in terms of climate change, helping to minimize the carbon footprint.
Does it mean that travel becomes replaceable? Not at all. After massive growth in leisure, Euromonitor is reporting the comeback of classical business travel. The return to pre-crisis level is expected to come in 2024. “But non-essential trips can be shifted to the virtual world”, Bremner says.

Four persons in front of a screen and red background.

Alexander Knauer, Caroline Bremner, Leila Summa, Dirk Rogl (f.l.t.r) at the ITB Convention 2023. Their session on future technologies became one of the most requested.

Click here for more facts and insights about the status of future technologies at ITB Travel Hero’s Trendcasts with Leila Summa (PlayToChange), Caroline Bremner (Euromonitor) and Alexander Knauer (University of Applied Sciences Mittwaida):