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UNWTO, Google To Host First Tourism Acceleration Program In Sub-Saharan Africa

While no one can predict when the tourism sector will recover following Covid-19, people are starting to dream of getaways again, whether closer to home or remote destinations.

This is why the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Google have partnered on 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 on September 27, the organisations hosted the first UNWTO & Google Tourism Acceleration Program focused on insights from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

The organisations believe that as more and more people go online to search where and when they can travel, accelerating the digitisation of the tourism sector will be key to adapting to the new tourism reality.

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

Africa is home to 30 percent 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.

Natalia Bayona, UNWTO Director of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments, said UNWTO 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, she said.

Doron Avni, Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets, said they were there to help the tourism sector to rise up 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,” said Avni.


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