A cluster management organisation supporting Scottish tourism innovation has struck a strategic partnership with its equivalent in the Catalan region of Spain.

Traveltech for Scotland, a community of over 130 tech organisations with the tourism and hospitality sectors, will work with Tech Tourism Catalonia to boost its international profile.

The organisation will work closely with its Catalan allies to draw on their experience of supporting and growing innovative travel and hospitality businesses in tourism hotspots such as Barcelona.

It will also help raise international awareness of Scotland’s expertise in the sector. Both clusters have committed to sharing knowledge and examining how they can jointly approach industry challenges of tourism sustainability, recovery and digital innovation.

Sector leaders in Scotland and Catalonia expect the partnership to give rise to future collaborative projects as their members innovate to overcome key hurdles in the sector including talent recruitment, integration of technology and access to international markets. 

Traveltech for Scotland works with a wide range of traveltech businesses, from globally-recognised Skyscanner and digital hospitality veterans Qikserve, to innovative startups such as EV travel and nature-based tourism business Electrek Explorer and adventure sport communication tech startup Joiin, championing Scotland as a pioneer in this burgeoning sector. 

Tech Tourism Catalonia was founded in March 2022 with the objective of bringing together companies, universities, tech centres and other stakeholders that have tourism and technology at the centre of what they do. 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. 

The announcement of the partnership follows a two-day knowledge exchange visit to Scotland by the Catalan cluster – the group’s first international visit. Catalan businesses and organisations attending included The Hotels Network, The Barcelona Hotels Guild, and CETT, the leading higher education school in tourism, hospitality and gastronomy, which is affiliated with The University of Barcelona.

Scottish and Catalan colleagues debated the future of travel in the next ten years and explored how technology can continue to support the travel sector.

Joshua Ryan-Saha, director of Traveltech for Scotland, said: “Traveltech for Scotland is helping businesses shape the future of the sector. 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.

“Since launching Traveltech for Scotland almost two years ago, our collaborative approach has proven very effective in helping our traveltech and tourism SMEs face ongoing challenges. 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, of the Directorate General for Tourism (DGT) of the Government of Catalonia, said that the partnership with Scotland is of great importance:  “Innovation is change and is based on knowledge as well as technology. 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.”