Tourism has an indispensable economic dimension for countries in terms of increasing national income and employment. 

Especially considering the economic devastations caused by the pandemic, it remains the most sustainable source in terms of foreign currency. It's not only a source of foreign exchange but also one of the top five export sectors. It nourishes many sectors on its own. These sectors include agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and healthcare. It directly affects 54 sectors and indirectly influences 185 sectors. That's why I always try to explain how crucial the tourism sector is for our country under all circumstances.

The tourism sector is generally labor-intensive. Traditionally speaking, that's how it has been. However, if we look at the world today, we are now discussing the existence of unmanned hotels and facilities offering semi-digital services. This means that tourism's human resource-oriented structure will also adapt to the evolving global order.

The increasing number of smart cities is undoubtedly making tourism smarter as well. While the system creates new supply, it actually rewrites the demand. Therefore, the structure of the demand so far is undoubtedly changing. Time is precious for all of us. Hence, smart systems are actually giving us back our greatest loss: "time"... The most significant progress in this rapidly advancing field is happening in China and South Korea. They are taking a pioneering stance in the competition by allocating substantial funds. We can't ignore this. In this field where the world is gaining momentum rapidly, we should now get onto the field and play the game.

To talk about a smart tourism sector, we should mention the creation of smart layers that address multiple components. While technology promises speed and easy accessibility, tourism should quickly benefit from it. These smart systems not only facilitate travelers' journeys but also bring positive contributions to the lives of local citizens. Improving the quality of tourists' experiences can directly create recurring demand.

The contribution of smart systems isn't just about speed. Perhaps the most important contribution is enabling environmentally friendly service delivery. By saving energy and reducing carbon footprint, it enhances resource management efficiency and, consequently, quality of life. We are becoming smarter and, in fact, building a smart future with these intelligent systems. Of course, like everything else, this progress also has another darker side. However, if we turn to the bright side and draw nourishment from there, we can leave the darkness behind. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, smart mobile applications are the most important leaps that are "smartening" the tourism sector. Access might speed up, but this speed will lead to people slowing down. The new world, new tourism, and new tourists are shaping today. Tomorrow will be the outcome of today. The future of the sector depends on our current investments. Both in domestic and international tourism, necessary projections should be planned and implemented for the long term. No matter how strong we are, if we're not flexible enough to adapt to change, we can't hold onto our strength for long. Some changes are opportunities.