Travel and tourism industry implored to embrace AI revolution early to maximise opportunity is provides

Human hand touching with robot
Edited by Travel Weekly


    The founder of US-based, ‘Magpie Travel’ has told Australia’s tourism industry to embrace the AI revolution and learn how you can best benefit from the new technology.

    Speaking at the ATEC Meeting Place held in Adelaide today, Christian Watts has been involved in the tourism and activities industry for over 25 years operating the first Hop On Hop Off sightseeing service to San Francisco, and knows firsthand the complexity of running a tourism business.

    The key theme of the talk highlighted that although Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is, in the short term, unlikely to change the human input needed for the end delivery of tourism products, the potential to streamline the complexities of the booking process and increase internal business productivity is a major opportunity. 

    “GenAI is a massive social shift and it will be better for tourism businesses to get on top of it quickly as it’s here and not going anywhere regardless of if we think it’s good or bad,” Watts said. “As a collective, industry businesses think we are tourism, but what tourism businesses are doing is helping a person visit a destination and what we actually provide is all the stuff in the middle while tourism is what the visitor comes for. “The visitor doesn’t want to know about all the layers of interactions their booking had to go through to get to the final experience – the many middle layers of tourism – and if we can simplify these processes, we can find efficiencies and cost benefits for businesses and travellers.“GenAI is hugely accessible and is available to everybody to use, helping to simplify what has become a very complicated tourism booking process with many levels and prices.  “Very soon AI will know how to manage your product and will do things you’re currently doing, like responding to emails, writing policies and marketing, and it will do it better. “The good thing is everyone has the same access to these Large Language Models (LLMs), so there are few barriers to entry. It’s what everyone must do now to be competitive, because it is delivering massive efficiency, and you can be sure your competitor is using it too.” While GenAI is hugely disruptive and involves unprecedented change, Watts remains optimistic about its future and ability to add value to the industry while allowing tourism businesses to focus on their core purpose. “The final delivery of our tourism product in our industry is the last thing that will get touched by AI as humans will continue to need to be where we want them to be, and that is in the service – the most important part of the tourism experience.”

    If you’re not already sold, the reviews from travel industry are very positive.

    “Magpie has been a game changer for us,” Alicia Ward from Sea Sight Tours commented.

    “We operate dozens of  tours all over Canada and the US and work with many OTAs making updates time consuming.

    “Magpie made it much easier by having our content in one place and pushing it directly into the OTA extranets.”

    Latest News

    • Destinations
    • Partner Content

    The Solomon Islands’ is ‘Kulture-plus’

    Be grateful that your experience of 'headhunting' is limited to some random dude reaching out to you on LinkedIn.

    Partner Content

    by Travel Weekly

    Travel Weekly
    • Cruise

    Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

    Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

    • Cruise

    Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

    Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

    • Destinations
    • Tour Operators

    Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

    Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

    • Hotels

    Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

    The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]

    • Hotels

    Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort unveils Coral Kids Club

    On top of its US$85 million (AU$150m) transformation, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort’s new Coral Kids Club provides an engaging activity centre for kids. Designed for keiki (children), ages 5-12, the activity centre offers daily cultural workshops with hands-on activities rooted around the Āina Guardian workbook. It was developed by Candes Gentry, co-author of Eat […]

    • Hotels

    Minor Hotels announces fourth franchised hotel

    Minor Hotels has added to its portfolio of more than 500 hotels in operation after signing Oaks Melbourne on William Suites as its fourth franchised hotel. The 220-room apartment hotel is the third Oaks property signed under a franchise model after the Oaks Toowoomba and Oaks Townsville Metropole. The proven success of these properties highlights […]