ITB 2019: Google and UNWTO to collaborate on developing digital skills in tourism

ITB 2019: Google and UNWTO to collaborate on developing digital skills in tourism

‘Fostering knowledge, education and growth’ at centre of agreement

Google has announced a training partnership with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to develop the potential and sustainability of tourism.

The tie-up said that “fostering knowledge, education and growth in tourism” is at the centre of their agreement.

Google will support UNWTO members in addressing the new digital trends and transformation challenges faced by tourism and needed by the sector.

This support will harness tourism 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.

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.”

Lutz Behrendt, travel industry leader from Google, added: “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 percent of participating businesses confirmed they saw concrete business results following our training, such as more visitors to their website or physical business.”

‘A High-Level Dialogue on Digital Skills in Tourism’ at travel trade fair ITB Berlin set the backdrop for announcing the agreement. Organized by UNWTO with the support of Google, the event underscored that digital skills development remain a major priority for destinations around Europe.