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MSMEs are backbones of global tourism sector – Pololikashvil

By Maria Diamond
03 December 2022   |   3:00 am
In line with its commitment towards making Micro, Small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) agents of transformation in digitisation, UNWTO has collaborated with Morocco’ Ministry of Tourism to support 10,000 citizens. The commitment to supporting Moroccan MSMEs represents the first pilot project of the UNWTO Digital Futures Programme to be launched in Africa. In Morocco, small…

Tourists visit Maya bay after Thailand reopened its world-famous beach after closing it for more than three years to allow its ecosystem to recover from the impact of overtourism, at Krabi province, Thailand, January 3, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

In line with its commitment towards making Micro, Small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) agents of transformation in digitisation, UNWTO has collaborated with Morocco’ Ministry of Tourism to support 10,000 citizens. The commitment to supporting Moroccan MSMEs represents the first pilot project of the UNWTO Digital Futures Programme to be launched in Africa.

In Morocco, small enterprises account for around 98 per cent of all tourism businesses and UNWTO has identified the country as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Overall, the Digital Futures Programme aims to reach 2 million SMEs globally, giving them support to make the shift to digitalisation, including through tailored training and mentorship initiatives with key big tech partners.

The joint plan was announced at the start of a special thematic session during a recent Executive Council in Marrakesh on “SMEs and Talent: Transforming Tourism”.

According to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvil who noted that MSMEs are the backbone of the global tourism sector, said: “MSMEs were hit hardest of all by the COVID-19 pandemic and with the right support, they can grow to become true agents of change and help build a more inclusive and sustainable sector. UNWTO is proud to be supporting thousands of small businesses, in Morocco and across the world, to make the shift to digital and become more innovative and competitive.”

The Thematic Session brought together leaders from the public sector, including Fatim-Zahra Ammor, Minister of Tourism for Morocco, Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism for Côte d’Ivoire, and Özgül Özkan Yavuz, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Türkiye. Joining them for panel discussions focused on nurturing human capital and empowering small businesses were private sector leaders from Radisson Hotel Group, Mastercard, Spain’s tourism promotion agency Tourespaña, Eloha, Livali Europe, Pikala, Hosco and Les Roches Global.

Also providing insights were tourism leaders representing the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development, the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation and Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority, as well as the International Labor Organisation.

Also in Marrakesh, UNWTO announced plans to partner with the Ministry of Tourism to launch a National Startup Competition tagged “Invest in the development of Moroccan Tourism”, alongside advancing the creation of an enhanced innovation framework to support tech-driven businesses in the country.

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