UNWTO’s new initiative will help small tourism businesses

UNWTO’s Digital Futures Programme aims to reach at least 1 million tourism SMEs.

In April, UNWTO launched the second edition of its global flagship competition under its Awake Tourism Challenge — a competition that identified innovators who are advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Unwto
UNWTO has launched the Digital Futures Programme to accelerate the adoption of new technology among tourism enterprises.

One of the areas it focused on was ‘Tourism Tech for Good’’ which aimed to highlight advancements in technology that have revolutionized the sector such as artificial intelligence, crypto, block chain, metaverse, and NFTs. 

A month later, UNWTO announced the launch of the Digital Futures Programme, designed to accelerate the adoption of new technology among tourism enterprises.

Developed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading technology, finance and business companies as Mastercard the initiative is focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up 80% of all tourism businesses. UNWTO aims to reach at least 1 million tourism SMEs over the lifetime of the Programme, providing them with the foundational skills and knowledge needed to harness the power of new and emerging technologies.

The Digital Futures Programme, which was launched in May, will help businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic and drive the sector forward, powered by innovation and new technology

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says, “Small businesses are the backbone of tourism. The Digital Futures Programme will help them to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and drive the sector forward, powered by innovation and new technology.”

In order to provide SMEs with tailored guidance and and tools, the Programme is built on a Digital Readiness Diagnostic Tool that benchmarks SMEs across five key digital dimensions – Connectivity, Business Growth, E-Commerce, Big Data and Analytics, and Payments and Security. The launch event, held at IE Tower in Madrid, was attended by around 200 participants including the Ambassadors to Spain of UNWTO’s Member States, as well as investment and promotion Agencies, and SMEs themselves.

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