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UNWTO, Google host first Tourism Acceleration Programme in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Advancing digitisation will be key to adapting to the new tourism environment
COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the tourism sector, a sector that accounts for millions of jobs around the globe. While it is still uncertain when the sector will recover, tourists are starting to dream of getaways again, whether closer to home or to remote destinations.

Since Nigeria announced its intention to reopen its borders to international travel on August 29th, search interest for travel has grown.

As more people go online to search where and when to travel, accelerating the digitisation of the tourism sector will be key to helping it adapt and recover.

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This is why the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Google have partnered to create and host an online Acceleration Program for UNWTO Member States’ tourism ministers, top travel associations and tourism boards to further develop innovation and digital transformation skills.

Ahead of World Tourism Day, the organisations hosted the first UNWTO and Google Tourism Acceleration Programme focused on insights from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

(Photo by PETER MUHLY / AFP)

Tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. As data from UNWTO shows, tourism represents 9% of global trade for Africa and 1 in 10 jobs directly and indirectly. Moreover, the sector drives inclusive growth, as women make up 54% of the workforce.

UNWTO Director of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments, Natalia Bayona, said the body is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger. “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”.

Africa is home to 30% of the world’s population, adding hundreds of millions of new online users every year. Google Search is one of the places Africans go when researching and booking travel.

Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets, Doron Avni remarked, “We’re here to help the tourism sector recover from this unprecedented crisis and emerge stronger. Our travel data insights and tools can help tourism authorities identify and understand the barriers and drivers to visit travel destinations for better tourism planning,” says.

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