May 25, 2021 | tourism

UNWTO and Google launch partnership to lead tourism recovery


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.

The new memorandum of understanding (MoU) builds on past cooperation between the UN specialised 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.

Notably, the two organisations will host trainings for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), using a new Capacity Building Curriculum developed by Google. 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.

Scaling up collaboration…

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.

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.

…and diversifying

The partnership will 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.

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.”

Google’s Managing Director for Travel Partnerships Gianni Marostica said: “We’re honoured 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.”

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.

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