UNWTO, Google Hinge Tourism Recovery On Innovation, Launch Global Partnership

by Olamilekan Okeowo

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Google have signed a new agreement to work together and lead global tourism’s recovery through innovation, education, and market intelligence.

To this effect, Google has developed a Capacity-Building Curriculum which the two organizations will deploy in hosting trainings for Destination Management Organizations, DMOs. These sessions will empower destinations to switch to digital, with the training adapted to reflect their specific circumstances and the unique challenges every destination currently faces.

The new Capacity Building Curriculum will also complement existing joint initiatives, and a data sharing agreement for Google’s Travel Insights to power a portion of the UNWTO’s tourism recovery tracker.

The partnership will also go beyond empowering destinations and businesses during the immediate recovery phase. Under the agreement, Google will provide ongoing support for a number of UNWTO’s leading initiatives, including Startup Competitions designed to promote and support innovation across the sector.

Speaking on the partnership, UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “The strong partnership between UNWTO and Google will help put innovation and digital at the centre of tourism’s recovery. By working together, UNWTO and Google will empower destinations, businesses and tourism workers to realize the power of data and market intelligence, both increasingly important as global tourism looks to restart and recover.”

On its part, Google’s Managing Director for Travel Partnerships Gianni Marostica said:

“We’re honored to be working alongside UNWTO in this vital effort to support the global tourism sector on its path toward broader economic recovery. It’s critical that both policymakers and businesses have the tools and insights they need to reconnect with travelers in a digital environment.”

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Looking ahead, UNWTO and Google will also collaborate on joint research projects related to tourism. The results will further establish both parties as thought leaders and provide governments, destinations and businesses with the trusted data and insights they need to guide tourism towards recovery.

Alongside this, the Tourism Accelerator Program, designed by Google in partnership with UNWTO, will also be scaled up globally. A pilot program launched across EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) in 2020 showed the value of working with policymakers to put digital at the heart of their tourism recovery plans and the benefits of upskilling DMOs so they can make effective use of data and market intelligence.

The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) builds on past cooperation between the UN specialized agency for tourism and Google. With destinations in some parts of the world looking to restart tourism, the new partnership will focus on harnessing the power of innovation, education, data and market intelligence to drive sustainable and inclusive recovery.

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