The first United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Google Tourism Acceleration Program was hosted on Wednesday 23rd September, 2020 by UNTWO and Google. Its major concentration was Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Google said in a statement that the program was put together ahead of World Tourism Day. The technology firm said they partnered with UNWTO to create and host an online Acceleration Program for UNWTO member states, tourism ministers, top travel associations and tourism boards.
The essence of the initiative is to further develop innovation and digital transformation skills across the Africa and beyond. A statement by Google on Wednesday said that the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected tourism, a sector that accounts for millions of jobs around the globe.
‘While no one can say with certainty when the sector will recover, people are starting to dream of getaways again – whether closer to home or to remote destinations. As more and more people go online to search where and when they can travel, accelerating the digitization of the tourism sector will be key to helping it adapt and recover.’
Google also added that with tourism representing 9 percent of global trade for Africa and one in ten jobs directly and indirectly, tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. Moreover, the sector drives inclusive growth, as women make up 54 per cent of the workforce.
‘UNWTO is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger,’ says Natalia Bayona, UNWTO Director of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments.
‘With the right policies, training and management in place, innovation and technology have the potential to foster new and better jobs and business opportunities for tourism in Africa while improving the overall wellbeing and prosperity of the region’.
Google Search is one of the places Africans go when researching and booking travel. Doron Avni, Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets says ‘We’re here to help the tourism sector recover from this unprecedented crisis and emerge stronger.
‘Our travel data insight and tools can help tourism authorities identify and understand the barriers and drivers to visit travel destinations for better tourism planning.’
On its part, since Nigeria announced its intention to reopen its borders to international travel on August 29, search interest for travel has grown. This presents an opportunity to rethink tourism, innovate and further develop the digital transformation of the sector, so it can build the foundations for future sustainable growth, the organizations said.
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