Minister Javier Hurtado: “We must see digital transformation as an ally to help us provide better service and experiences for our clients.”

2022 November 28

The Regional Minister for Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs, Javier Hurtado, today inaugurated the third edition of Digitaltek, a forum that addresses the digital transformation of companies and awards prizes in different categories to the most innovative companies.

The Minister recalled that the digital revolution has been dizzying and unstoppable, helping to improve processes and accelerating the evolution of business, and this affects all areas, including tourism and trade. For example, when tourists decide to choose a destination such as the Basque Country, the Internet is already the first source of information, including social networks. “Moreover, 86% of tourists book some kind of service before making their trip through a booking centre, either via the website or specific applications.”

“We must see digital transformation as a necessary ally and not as an enemy. Digitalisation should not lead us to reduce services, but rather to reinforce our attention to the user in order to offer a better experience, because that is the success of our establishment.”

And this can also be seen very clearly in commerce, as the Minister explained, which even before the pandemic was facing a change of model. “Two clear trends are now converging in Basque commerce: a trend towards digitalisation and omni-channelling, as a result of new consumer habits and technological innovation. And another trend that is drawing us back to local commerce is the result of an ageing population and the realisation (sharpened by the pandemic) of the importance of neighbourhood commerce. A path is opening up towards a new social role for local commerce that we must know how to combine with this essential transformation of the model.”

The Minister stressed that we must be realistic because the path of digital transformation in commerce has a long way to go. The reality in the Basque Country, according to the Trade Observatory, Enfokamer, is that 31% of businesses can be considered as not very digitised, the percentage of mixed businesses would be the majority, 64.5%, and those that have tackled a greater digital transformation are 2.5%, although they are on the increase. 11.6% of Basque retailers say they sell online.

“We still have a lot of work to do, a lot of support and momentum for digital transformation. And this work must be shared—the result of individual and collective responsibility—from the administrations, of course. We must continue to deploy measures to support our local traders to encourage their development and transformation. Of the traders and companies themselves, who must see digitalisation as the ally I mentioned, which can improve the quality of their services and customer service. And it also depends on the responsibility of all of us as consumers. We can't complain that our local shop is closing down while we click on digital platforms that are not taxed here. We have to be aware that the decisions we make today will determine the society we want to build.”

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Politicians attending the event