Blog Post

The Role of Data Spaces in the Travel Sector

EONA-X, the European data space for mobility, transport and tourism, hosted the first Data Space Summit on 30 June. While data spaces have been the talk of the town in policy-making circles for a while, they continue to be hard to grasp for some. As the European Commission continues to develop its vision for the tourism and mobility data spaces, the Summit gave an interesting opportunity to explore the concrete implications of data spaces for travel in Europe. Here are our takeaways:

1.       You may ask yourself what a data space actually is. In short, data spaces are tools to facilitate the sharing, pooling and use of data from different actors. You can think of them not as data centers that centrally store all information, but rather a framework where all participants agree on common principles, definitions and governance to develop trust. Trust is the key word here, it is what data spaces are about at their core: creating trust between different data holders/processors/users to help them share data widely.

2.      In the travel sector, data is widely produced, requested and consumed already. Think about the wealth of data you handle and encounter over the course of any trip: timetables, your own passenger information, carbon emission information, reviews, the list goes on. The aim of travel-related data spaces is to make this existing data more widely available to all providers, which can help in the development of new and innovative services. An example of new services facilitated by data spaces are multimodal “super-apps” which allow passengers to book all kinds of transport in one place by receiving data from many different types of operators, from micro-mobility to airlines. As two closely related frameworks, the link between the mobility and tourism data spaces will be particularly crucial.

3.      Data spaces are conceptualized as voluntary projects or facilitators, but they can and should be closely integrated with regulatory initiatives. The prime example of this is the Regulation on Multimodal Digital Mobility Services, which the European Commission is currently drafting. This Regulation hopes to make multimodality and complete consumer transparency in travel a reality by regulating the sharing of tickets and data on fair terms. An integration of such data sharing obligations with the related data space will be important to draw the largest possible benefit for travelers and travel businesses.

With the upcoming communications by the European Commission on the mobility and tourism data spaces, we are sure to hear more about this subject in the months to come.

eu travel tech has been involved in the development of EU data spaces since their inception. For more, read our contribution on the European Mobility Data Space and the Code of Conduct on Data Sharing in Tourism here, which we helped draft.