Companies and organisations that initiate early adoption of Iot are more likely to recover quickly from the impact of the pandemic.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the IoT in travel and tourism theme, as identified by GlobalData.


The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to invest more in technology. IoT technology, in particular, helped with tasks that required social distancing, remote working, or contact tracing. In a post-Covid world, many organisations consider digitalisation as their top priority, and they see IoT as one of the enablers. Remote asset access and business process automation will be prominent features in the office and factory of the future. The demand for new IoT applications will be driven in 2021 by telemedicine, smart offices, remote asset monitoring, and location tracking services.

Covid-19 has decimated travel and tourism, one of the main reasons that the sector has
been so slow in its recovery is due to fears over health and safety when traveling, mainly coming from consumers and governments. IoT technology can help to ease traveller concerns regarding wellbeing. Connected applications, for example, can make tourism flows safer throughout a city by providing real-time warnings about crowding.

The US vs. China

The US and China are locked in a battle for tech supremacy in 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, and other next-generation technologies. The ensuing trade war has resulted in tariffs or bans on imports and exports of various goods. It has also impacted technology transfers ranging from semiconductors to industrial robots and machinery, computer storage devices, electrical components, imaging systems, and networking equipment.

The IoT ecosystems of the US and China, which once supported a globalised supply chain, are decoupling. The trade war is impacting many IoT technology leaders, including Amazon, Apple, CISCO, Dell, Google, HPE, Huawei, Hikvision, IBM, Inspur, Intel, Microsoft, and ZTE from a supply chain point of view.

IPO activity

IoT was the fifth largest theme driving initial public offering (IPO) activity in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) sector between 01 January 2018 and 31 December 2020, when measured by IPO proceeds raised. The first four were ecommerce, mobile, fintech, and cloud. A total of 35 IPOs where IoT was the primary thematic driver were recorded during the period, and they accounted for 5% of total IPO proceeds globally. China hosted 28 of these deals and the US hosted six deals.

M&A activity

IoT was the seventh-largest theme driving mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the TMT sector in 2020 when measured by transaction value. The first six thematic drivers were connectivity, big data, cloud, fintech, digital media, and gaming.


IoT solutions can address a range of sustainability goals, but the manufacture of connected devices creates its own environmental issues. Firstly, it generates copious amounts of electronic waste. Many technology vendors including Apple, HPE and Samsung Electronics are launching green initiatives towards sustainable e-waste management, but there are growing calls for regulators to bring greater transparency to environmental audits to reduce the levels of greenwashing.

Climate change seems to be the most ubiquitous in tourism within the umbrella term of ‘sustainability’. It is the aspect of sustainability which has the most impact on travellers’ purchasing decisions. IoT will continue to be a valuable component for destinations and companies in their attempts to reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, IoT can create positive social impacts in relation to tourism by addressing the side-effects of overtourism.

IoT is the key technological point for the development of smart cities. City destinations can rapidly improve performance in relation to sustainability by using this technology to gather urban data and improve performance and management. IoT, for example, can reduce overcrowding within cities through the redirection of tourist flows through reactive digital signage. It can reduce annoyance amongst the host community within a destination and create a more harmonious relationship between locals and tourists.

This is an edited extract from the Internet of Things (IoT) in Travel and Tourism – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.