Traveltech for Scotland says it unites more than 130 relevant organisations in tourism and hospitality, from travel search giant Skyscanner and digital hospitality veteran Qikserve to start-ups such as EV travel and nature-based tourism business Electrek Explorer plus adventure sport communication tech startup Joiin.
It said the tie-up will see it working closely with its Catalan partner to draw on the latter’s experience of supporting and growing innovative travel and hospitality businesses in tourism hotspots such as Barcelona.
News of the strategic partnership follows a two-day knowledge exchange visit to Scotland by the Catalan cluster. Catalan businesses and organisations attending included The Hotels Network, The Barcelona Hotels Guild, and CETT, the Barcelona School of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy, which is affiliated with The University of Barcelona.
Scottish and Catalan peers debated the outlook for the travel industry over the next ten years and looked at how technology can continue to support it.
It is hoped that the partnership will help raise international awareness of Scotland's expertise in the traveltech sector, with both parties having committed to sharing knowledge and examining how they can jointly approach industry challenges of tourism sustainability, recovery and digital innovation.
The tie-up aims to generate collaborative projects as both organisations’ members innovate to overcome key hurdles in the sector including recruitment, integration of technology, and access to international markets.
Tech Tourism Catalonia was founded in March 2022 to unite companies, universities, tech centres and other stakeholders that have tourism and technology as a key focus. One of the fundamental goals of the Catalan cluster is to foster networking and contribute to the internationalisation of its members, which led to the connection with Traveltech for Scotland.
Joshua Ryan-Saha, director of Traveltech for Scotland, which launched almost two years ago and is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Futures Institute, said: “Scotland is at the leading edge of traveltech globally, and we know we have the opportunity to launch many more Skyscanners.
"By working closely with successful clusters around the world, the traveltech sector in Scotland can learn, grow and thrive in the post-Covid era, supporting the economy here and connecting technology with travel and tourism businesses to collaborate and succeed on the global stage.
“Whether in Scotland or Catalonia, businesses must overcome many of the same issues when scaling their businesses and targeting international markets. Forging international partnerships with like-minded clusters has been key for sharing expertise for mutual benefit and we look forward to developing this excellent working relationship with Tech Tourism Catalonia."
Marta Domènech, head of tourism at the Directorate General for Tourism of the Government of Catalonia, said the partnership with Scotland is of great importance, adding: "Collaboration generates value that extends beyond economics. There are important values that make us better people and make better companies, and the connection between these two clusters is an excellent example of those values.”
Traveltech for Scotland noted that the partnership follows the recent news that Catalonia-based TravelPerk will open its first base in Scotland, creating up to 30 jobs this year alone.