Fostering knowledge, education and growth in tourism will be at the centre of a partnership announced today between Google and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
Google will support UNWTO members in addressing the new digital trends and transformation challenges faced by tourism and needed by the sector, to fully harness its development potential and contribution to sustainability.
Digital skills are crucial for competitiveness in tourism, a sector characterised by technological change and the generation of new business models.
Speaking at ITB Berlin in Germany, UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “This agreement with Google coincides with UNWTO’s special focus on education, skills development and jobs, the connecting thread of all our actions this year.
“Google is an affiliate member of UNWTO, and this partnership proves the importance of public-private collaboration to advance tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development.”
A high-level dialogue on digital skills in tourism set the backdrop for announcing the agreement.
Organised by UNWTO with the support of Google during ITB Berlin, the event underscored that digital skills development remain a major priority for destinations around Europe.
Lutz Behrendt, travel industry leader at Google, said: “More than half of tourism revenue in the EU is now researched or booked online.
“By equipping tourism ministries with the skills, tools and programmes they need to market and protect themselves online, we hope it will increase opportunities for jobs and revenue across the industry.
“Following a similar tourism programme we ran in Greece, 68 per cent of participating businesses confirmed they saw concrete business results following our training, such as more visitors to their website or physical business.”
More detail on the training and partnership will be announced in due course, the UNWTO added.