The Tourbit project has significantly advanced the digital transformation of 61 tourism SMEs across seven European territories through its Digital Acceleration Program. Each selected SME received direct financial support of EUR 8,000-9,000 from the Tourbit local partners to implement their digitalization projects. This funding was complemented by access to a vast amount of knowledge, technical support, and a transnational network of experts and peers.

These projects leveraged cutting-edge technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, and Blockchain. Their digitalization efforts targeted three main areas: improving internal processes, enhancing client relations and online presence, and optimising digital/technological products and/or services.

The majority of participating SMEs were micro-enterprises, reflecting the tourism industry’s composition and highlighting the specific digitalisation needs of these smaller businesses. Over half of the SMEs were travel agencies, tour operators, and related services, while others were involved in accommodation services.

Tourbit’s comprehensive support ecosystem, the Digital Acceleration Programme, has been pivotal in equipping SMEs with the necessary resources for their digital journey. The positive feedback from participants underscores the program’s success in enhancing the digital capabilities and competitiveness of the tourism industry.

The implemented digitalization projects by the Tourbit SMEs are showcased in the Start Digital Toolbox under the “inspiring”. Additionally, due to the success of these digitalization projects, the Tourbit partners are considering further follow-up activities and/or support measures to continue collaborating with these 61 enterprises.

While the project has been largely successful, SMEs have suggested improvements, such as streamlined processes and enhanced networking opportunities. Addressing these could further bolster the program’s impact. Looking ahead, continued public financing and support for digitalization in tourism SMEs remain essential for maintaining their competitiveness in an increasingly digital world as well as facilitating contacts with tech and digital services providers.