University hosts Visit Wales’ An Adventure in Big Data

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Leading practitioners in Digital Tourism from across Europe convened at Swansea University’s School of Management today (Thursday, January 28) for Visit Wales’ An Adventure in Big Data conference.

Visit Wales - An Adventure in Big DataThe event, at the University’s science and innovation Bay Campus, looked at how the digital revolution is also revolutionising the information that’s available to tourism business.

This information can help businesses understand customer behaviour which can lead to better informed business choices and increased profitability.

The international line-up of speakers from Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Northern Ireland and of course Wales presented practical examples of how Big Data can be applied in the tourism field, with workshop sessions in the afternoon.

The conference, which takes place during Wales’ Year of Adventure, was attended by more than120 industry professionals. The aim was to look at how Digital data makes new perspectives and new approaches possible to tourism businesses and to share best practice.

Visit Wales - An Adventure in Big Data - generalKen Skates, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, opened the event. He said: “Information is essential for our industry in Wales to keep up-to-date, well-informed and competitive in an environment of rapid change.

“Judging on performance over the last three years, the Tourism industry in Wales is in very good shape.  We’ve seen successive annual increases in visitor volumes and expenditure, both in the GB and international markets.

“GB Domestic staying visits hit a record 10 million in 2014 and the latest figures – for the first three quarters of 2015 – show further increases – 2% up on trips and 12% up on spend – in comparison with the same period in the record year of 2014.

“Very encouragingly, following very difficult economic conditions in our primary international markets, overseas visits to Wales have increased by 9% over the past three years.

“Despite these successes, there is absolutely no room for complacency and our mission is to remain competitive in a very rapidly changing global market-place.  To achieve that, information is the key.   This is true for national tourism organisations and for individual businesses in all sectors of the industry, regardless of size.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with Swansea University’s School of Management to deliver this thought provoking conference and it’s a pleasure to welcome such a line-up of experts in this field to give a global perspective on how we can make information and knowledge our tools for success.”

Professor Iwan Davies, Swansea University senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Estate and Internationalisation) said: “The University, through our School of Management, is delighted to have partnered with Visit Wales for this exciting industry event at the start of Wales' Year of Adventure, and to welcome Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, to our spectacular Bay Campus to open the conference.

“The conference has attracted a unique gathering of international practitioners at the forefront of Big Data usage, who have brought their expertise to Swansea to inform and inspire delegates on how the visitor economy can benefit through the way Big Data can inform tourism marketing and development.

“Our ever-growing research expertise in the field of Big Data – with further exciting new partnerships and developments with a global industry partner to be announced shortly – demonstrates Swansea University is fast becoming a destination of choice as a centre of expertise in this important sector, contributing to the economic development and success of the region.”

Further information on Swansea University’s School of Management is available here, and on Visit Wales here

Pictured (left to right) are Professor Terry Stevens, School of Management, Swansea University; Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism; Raymond Ciborowski, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, Swansea University, at the Visit Wales An Adventure in Big Data conference, held at the School of Management.