Skift Take

Tourism board executives think ChatGPT is impressive, but they haven’t seen solid evidence of its real-world application in destination marketing so far to make a sizeable investment.

Destination marketing executives say they are taking a wait-and-see approach to ChatGPT. Some executives speaking last week at the ITB Berlin tourism conference said they aren’t sure yet whether ChatGPT and generative AI tools will have an impact on destination marketing and haven’t devoted internal resources directly toward its use. They offered their views during a the session titled “Digital, Personalized and Open: How DMOs Gain Ground in Digital Travel.” 

Since its introduction, ChatGPT has reignited discussion around the possibilities of AI. Some destination marketing professionals think it has a place in internal operations and travel search. “We’re looking at everything from an internal workflow perspective but it can also be a great tool to transform our search,“ said Travel Oregon Director of Global Integrated Marketing Mo Sherifdeen told Skift.

At ITB Berlin, when asked about the future of ChatGPT in destination marketing, Singapore Tourism Board CEO Keith Tan said the jury’s still out on whether it will work for destination marketing. “ChatGPT may work for universities and schools. It may not work for us in destination marketing, but we don’t know,” he said. “What’s important for us is the capacity to test and pilot and see what works and doesn’t work.”

Germany National Tourist Board Head of Media Management Alexa Brandau agreed. “We don’t know the future yet. We have to learn from trial and error so we need a certain latitude first,” she said. Brandau says the tourism board’s ongoing initiative with the German tourism industry to develop a structured content data warehouse could potentially help ChatGPT improve its functionality as a byproduct. 

Simliliary, Tourism eXchange Great Britain, which is a partner of VisitBritain and connects tourism businesses with distribution channels, theorizes its data projects will provide a foundation for ChatGPT and Generative AI. Managing Director James Berzins said they could potentially provide it with content, visitation, bookings and other data.



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