The digital skills divide: evidence from the European tourism industry

Sheena Carlisle, Stanislav Ivanov, Corné Dijkmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This paper aims to present the findings from a European study on the digital skills gaps in tourism and hospitality companies. Design/methodology/approach: Mixed methods research was adopted. The sample includes 1,668 respondents (1,404 survey respondents and 264 interviewees) in 5 tourism sectors (accommodation establishments, tour operators and travel agents, food and beverage, visitor attractions and destination management organisations) in 8 European countries (UK, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands and Bulgaria). Findings: The most important future digital skills include online marketing and communication skills, social media skills, MS Office skills, operating systems use skills and skills to monitor online reviews. The largest gaps between the current and the future skill levels were identified for artificial intelligence and robotics skills and augmented reality and virtual reality skills, but these skills, together with computer programming skills, were considered also as the least important digital skills. Three clusters were identified on the basis of their reported gaps between the current level and the future needs of digital skills. The country of registration, sector and size shape respondents’ answers regarding the current and future skills levels and the skills gap between them. Originality/value: The paper discusses the digital skills gap of tourism and hospitality employees and identifies the most important digital skills they would need in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-266
Number of pages27
JournalThe Journal of Tourism Futures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Digital competences development
  • Digital skills development
  • Digital skills gaps
  • Staff development


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