How digitalisation is shaping the future of tourism |17 May 2023
The global tourism industry has undergone a rapid digital transformation, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the need for digital tools to aid recovery and resilience. Among the areas where digitalisation has had a significant impact is border management, where information and telecommunication technology have become increasingly prominent.
As we celebrate World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, it's important to recognise the benefits of digitalisation for the tourism industry, and its role in creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Border Security Report (2022) highlights how modernising border management has improved border security, enhanced travel experiences, and boosted the travel and tourism industries. By embracing digitalisation, Seychelles is among the first countries in Africa to use digital technology to recover safely and quickly from the pandemic by digitising its borders.
The Seychelles E-Border app is an innovative tool that has revolutionised border security and travel processes by digitising and simplifying immigration procedures. This mobile application provides a hassle-free experience for travellers by enabling them to complete necessary procedures before leaving home. It includes a profile saving feature that accommodates both individual and group applications, making it particularly advantageous for frequent flyers. Families with younger children will find it especially useful, as the app allows the submission of groups of up to six people from the same household. The Seychelles E-Border app is an excellent example of how digital technology can enhance the travel experience while ensuring secure borders.
Digitalisation has also made travel more efficient, benefiting tourists and residents alike while easing border management for governments. Travellers from North America, Europe, and the Middle East are reassured when travelling to the Seychelles to discover the same advanced border security systems, that are already in place in their home countries. Upon landing, the facial recognition system implemented at the Seychelles International Airport identifies each passenger by matching their face and passport image uploaded on the Seychelles Electronic Border System website or via the Seychelles E-Border app. At Immigration, the officers can now process a single traveller in just 45 seconds. On average, a plane with over 100 passengers can be cleared in 45 minutes from the plane to baggage claim, compared to 84 minutes previously. This is made possible by the pre-travel screening process via the Seychelles Electronic Border System, with advanced data submission directly from the passengers themselves. Without digital tools and solutions, such improvements at Seychelles International Airport would not have been possible.
Additionally, to provide a hassle-free experience for visitors, Seychelles has made it possible to purchase SIM cards, medical services, and Covid-19 tests while completing the Travel Authorisation. As a result, upon arrival, visitors can redeem the product or service using just their QR codes, as the KYC (Know Your Customer) data required by regulators has already been provided. With these arrangements made ahead of time, visitors can travel with confidence and peace of mind, knowing they have a safety net in place even before leaving their homes.
Looking ahead, we can expect further technological innovations that enhance travel experiences worldwide. Telecommunications and information technology play a vital role in border management, and we should continue to celebrate and explore the ways in which technology can improve the travel experience for all.