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UNWTO, Google host first tourism acceleration programme in sub-saharan Africa

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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 tourism will recover, people are starting to dream again of getaways 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 digitalisation of the tourism sector will be key to adapting to the new tourism reality.

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That is why the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Google have partnered for an online Acceleration Programme 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 organisation hosted the first UNWTO & Google Tourism Acceleration Programme focused on insights from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. As data from UNWTO shows, tourism represents 9 per cent of global trade for Africa and 1 in 10 jobs directly and indirectly.

Moreover, the sector drives inclusive growth, as women make 54 per cent of the workforce.

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“UNWTO is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger,” said 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.”

“Market intelligence and insights are more important than ever to understand consumers and drive recovery. In line with the ongoing UNWTO training programme on data and intelligence for Africa, this partnership with Google allows UNWTO to strengthen Africa’s data and digital skills,” said Sandra Carvao, UNWTO Chief of Market Intelligence and Competitiveness.

Africa is home to 30 per cent of the world’s population, adding every year hundreds of millions of new online users. Google is a highly trusted partner in Africa to find relevant and reliable information, and Search is one of the places they go when researching and booking travel.

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