What is a tourism accelerator?

Tourism Accelerator Program gives or provides a network of like-minded tourism professionals for collaboration and support. The program offers tourism updates, product development support and marketing advice. It is made and conducted for the early-stage companies with an MVP (minimum viable product), market traction and a dedicated team offering a solution (hardware or software) that challenges the status quo to build a more inclusive and sustainable tourism industry.

The tourism acceleration provides many advantages:

  • Travel and tourism are broad industries. By conducting these acceleration program, the industries can be focused on achieving their objectives.
  • Monitoring, tracking and improving the sustainability goals of the tourism sector.
  • With the insights of their online platforms, it can provide productivity gains and cost savings by implementing the solutions which overcomes the weakness.
  • Increase revenue for tourism businesses through targeted marketing, personalised experiences, dynamic forecasting, and reducing payment barriers
  • Deepening insights on visitors and increasing customer satisfaction and engagement 

With the restrictions due to the virus, the tourism industry now depends on online bookings and to use all the online platforms and tools. With the constant change and development in the industry the digital platforms are efficient in promoting tourism and help recover quicker and in a more sustainable way.

The MoU signed by UNWTO and Google

Google and the UNWTO has joined efforts to restart tourism and foster global recovery, to build up strategic skills to enhance tourism’s capacity to generate better opportunities and has created and organise acceleration programs for countries to promote tourism post pandemic. The first Acceleration Programme was held virtually and hosted by South Africa on 23 September 2020. The second Acceleration Programme was held virtually and hosted by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE on 10 December 2020 and the third Acceleration Programme takes place 8 June 2021, shifting its focus to Croatia, Greece, Portugal and Italy. 

The main reason, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Google are developing these series of online Acceleration Programmes are made and designed for Member States’ tourism ministers, their teams, top travel associations, tourism boards and Destination Marketing Organizations to foster innovation and digital transformation for better tourism planning.

The tourism acceleration program focuses on 3 main areas, participants who will be attending will gain first-hand access to UNWTO and Google’s insights of the tourism sector as well as develop new strategies through digital skills & data insights for a more sustainable recovery. 

Insights connect the host to their consumers, it gives all the information, reveals behaviours or phenomena and point to solutions or ideas. These are basically created to know the human needs, ideas and what they get utmost satisfaction with which in turn gets the companies to work towards their wants. 

The main objectives reached through the program is:

  • New insights in the travel industry
  • Developing digital skills
  • Industry case studies of digital innovation

The two organizations host trainings for destination management organizations around the globe using a new Capacity Building Curriculum. Which was developed by Google to help destinations use digital tools and data for recovery. It was first used in April for a two-day training event for representatives from 20 African National Tourism Organizations. The curriculum is delivered by experts from Google’s travel and advertising businesses and is tailored for the regions where it is offered, with sessions on data collection and analysis, digital marketing and storytelling.

UNWTO and Google Think this is for the good of the member nations and this will accelerate the power of tourism, adapt and thrive in the new environment to drive sustainable growth for millions across the globe.

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 realise 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 added: “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 travellers in a digital environment.”

They aim on improving tourism and hospitality environments with technology-enabled solutions to improve the health and wellness of guests. Streamlining core internal business functions and systems for systems integration, better staff training and management, visitor safety, flow and information tracking, supply chain management as well as business intelligence and decision-making


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