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British Tourism Minister Kim Howells announces first major e-tourism study

Tourism Minister, Dr Kim Howells recently announced a major new impact study looking at how well British tourism businesses are using…

Tourism Minister, Dr Kim Howells recently announced a major new impact study looking at how well British tourism businesses are using information computer technology (ICT). Speaking at the EnglandNet<.> Conference – which has been setting out how the EnglandNet project will enable English tourism businesses to make the most of new technology and reach a global audience – Dr Howells said:



More and more people are turning to the internet when they’re planning and booking their holidays. That’s why it is very important that businesses and the public sector grasp the new challenges that e-tourism brings in order to maintain the competitiveness of tourism in England.



The new e-tourism impact study I am announcing today will take stock of how well tourism businesses and organisations have grasped the e-tourism challenge to date – and see how best they can exploit the potential of new technology in future.




In particular, the research will produce information and provide recommendations for organisations in the private and public sectors and will look at the:


  • current state of play in tourism, including the level of take up of ICT, the level of IT skills in tourism and current and future trends;

  • opportunities and threats created by e-commerce;

  • barriers and enablers to take-up; and

  • future developments, including digital interactive television and mobile telephony.


This study will be the most comprehensive study ever undertaken in this area. It is expected to report in the Autumn. It is already well understood that some small businesses do not feel that they have the resources or expertise to keep pace with new technology and the Government has been working to meet this need.



Dr Howells also announced a new initiative to help tourism businesses to get online. With UKOnline, the ‘Go for IT’ video, CD-Rom and information pack aims to provide practical advice for getting online. It is illustrated with case studies of small UK tourism businesses already benefiting from new technology.





Facts & Figures



The number of people planning and booking their holidays on the Internet is expanding rapidly. According to existing research:


  • about half of UK residents have access to the Internet;

  • in 2001, 16 per cent of people purchased a travel product on the Internet;

  • and 31 per cent of them used the Internet to find information that they then used for booking a tourism product.

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