The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have launched a joint report on the use of big data for better tourism planning and management. The report features examples from across Asia and the Pacific region while also showcasing the main trends in the use of big data in tourism at the forefront of technology and innovation. The report also makes clear the role that big data can play in recovery and the measurement of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of tourism, said a press release. According to a report, tourism suffered the greatest crisis on record in 2020 and international arrivals plunged by 73pc in 2020. This is likely to be followed by a 70pc and 75pc fall on 2019 levels for 2021. As the sector looks to recover, data and market intelligence are critical to empowering destinations, businesses, and tourism workers to be better prepared in a rapidly changing landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the shift toward digitalization and so further highlighted the need for relevant and reliable data and intelligence to manage tourism. The joint UNWTO and ADB report will assist both governments and the private sector as they look to complement official statistics with big data to better understand changes in consumer behaviour and to enhance recovery with targeted products, segments, and source markets. Big data will also be key to supporting seamless travel through the implementation of safety protocols, biosecurity technologies, and digital health certificates to enable the safe reopening of borders. The report further addresses some of the key challenges standing in the way of fully realizing the potential of big data and digitalization for better tourism policy. These include ongoing concerns over privacy, skills gaps, data reliability, inadequate governance and infrastructure, the digital divide, accessibility barriers. These challenges make clear the need for a comprehensive agenda to pave the way for the effective use of big data to assist tourism recovery and its transformation toward a greener, more resilient sector. Together, UNWTO and ADB will work to ensure tourism policies across the region are aimed at establishing measurement, monitoring, and management systems and frameworks, thereby ensuring harmonized, comparable, and reliable data and indicators. According to UNWTO, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 58pc in July-September 2021 compared to the same period of 2020. However, they remained 64pc below 2019 levels. In August and September 2021 arrivals were at -63pc compared to 2019, the best monthly results since the start of the pandemic. The uplift in demand during the third quarter of 2021 was driven by increased traveler confidence amid rapid progress on vaccinations and the easing of entry restrictions in many destinations. In January-September 2021, international tourist arrivals worldwide were 20pc lower than the same period in 2020, but still 76pc below 2019 levels. Despite the improvement seen in the third quarter of the year, the pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates, and traveler confidence. In Asia and the Pacific, arrivals were still 95pc below 2019 levels in Q3 2021 as many destinations remained closed to non-essential travel. The safe resumption of international tourism will continue to depend largely on a coordinated response among countries in terms of travel restrictions, harmonized health and hygiene protocols, and effective communication to help restore consumer confidence.