The Business Year

Jaume Monserrat

SPAIN - Economy

Jaume Monserrat

President, International Cluster of Information and Commuication Technologies Applied to Tourism (TURISTEC)

Bio

Jaume Monserrat studied computer science at the University of the Balearic Islands and has an MBA from EAE Business School. He currently combines his activities as the head of the HITT Group (corporate of Dingus and Etoolinnovation) as CEO & Co-founder, with the presidency of Turistec. Monserrat has been the director of Systems and Communications at Riu Hotels & Resorts, head of organization and systems for the incoming Mediterranean travel services, and he co-founded and directed the company Axis Data. In 2004, he launched Etoolinnovation, a software design company for the tourism sector, from which Dingus was born (2008), to dedicate itself to the hotel distribution business.

Turistec is working to make Mallorca’s tourism sector more resilient and competitive while leveraging on innovation and digitalization.

How important is the Turistec cluster in the long-term planning of tourism in Mallorca?

The cluster was born as a response to the concentration of knowledge in tourism technologies in the Balearic Islands and is the fruit of the entrepreneurial spirit of the tourism companies here. Under the premise that sharing or transferring of knowledge is necessary, the cluster offers an ecosystem to manage information much more effectively, since the starting point is not competition as such, but cooperation. Turistec is a generator of synergies because of an ongoing and intense networking oriented toward innovation and growth. Its importance lies in being able to act with a single voice, integrating the business strategies of the sector and using the proposed criteria to generate traction with the public sector. It is about being a catalyst for public-private collaboration, an aspect that has become much more important in the post-pandemic years.

What role does digitalization play as a component of Mallorca’s competitiveness as a tourist destination?

Digitalization must be approached from a holistic perspective, whether from the point of view of a company, sector, or destination. That said, elements such as technological “catch up,” process improvement, commitment to the client/resident, and the exhaustive review of relationships with human capital are presented to us as four areas of work in which to develop strategies aligned with all change agents with a long-term vision. Digital transformation, therefore, is a vehicle for growth and generation of business models much more adapted to sustainable growth and competitiveness.

How can the EU Next Generation funds be leveraged to drive a digital transition in the island’s tourism sector?

These funds are essential for the recovery after the prolonged shutdown that the sector has suffered worldwide. To ride out this crisis, it has been necessary to assume large levels of debt, which will inevitably hinder any ability to increase leverage for innovation or expansion. In addition, there has been a transfer of human capital that has sought refuge in sectors less impacted by the pandemic, which includes the public sector. That said, opportunities will come from the ability to offer projects aligned with the strategic proposals of the EU and the Spanish state. The funds are there, but our impression at the moment is of a certain bewilderment, because we do not see how the capillarity of investment can be generated. Furthermore, the intensity of some aid is really short, once they manage to reach companies. This is a worrying element, given that our country has a record of returning money for innovation for not having the ability to present bankable projects. We hope there is still time to redirect this situation, and for this to occur it is necessary to persevere in the dialogue with the public sector with effective projects. Turistec is committed to finding a way to redirect ideas on the effective management of funds.

What priorities will be presented to the cluster in the 2022-23 biennium?

The priority will be to recover the levels of competitiveness and be more resilient before any new blows occur from COVID-19. For this, we must reduce leverage in order to propose investment in innovation and transformation to first recover and then begin to transform. The sector is demonstrating a great capacity for anticipation and courage by undertaking ambitious projects of sustainability, transformation, and even adaptation or improvements of the model itself. The projects are based not only on significant investments in technification but also on the improvement of processes and the formation of human capital with a clear focus on sustainability and protection of the environment. These two years will be years of recovery, though at the same time of preparation of the company to undertake improvements or transformative projects aimed at adapting or generating new business models in line with the demands of client and the destination on which its competitiveness will depend.

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