World Tourism Day: How digital skills can support recovery
09/29/2020|7:48:24 PM|Google

After months of isolation while living in quarantine, travel is the leisure activity that I miss the most. And I’m not alone. Our research, conducted with the Boston Consulting Group, shows that 31% of people hope to plan leisure travel once they feel safe enough to do so. 

Adapting to the new normal of travel

The tourism industry relies on historical data to predict future demand. But in the current highly-volatile environment, this is no longer adequate. That's why Google shares high-level data and insights about fast-rising travel categories in Google Search like domestic vacations (with search terms like “country holiday” or “car hire near me”); where in the world searches are growing; and the queries associated with them. 

Partnering with tourism ministries, travel experts and the travel business sector 

Google is partnering with government ministries, businesses and experts throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa to foster digital skills in the travel sector. For example, Google has worked with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to train tourism officials and businesses on a range of digital tools to engage travellers at home, and encourage future travel when possible. And our first UN & Google Tourism Acceleration Program will take place virtually this Wednesday, September 23, designed for UN member states' tourism ministers, top travel associations, tourism boards and destination marketing organizations. It will focus on travel and tourism insights from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria so participants can better understand shifts in behavior and adapt their products and offerings to meet new demands.

And in Greece, Google launched #greecefromhome, an at-home continuation of Grow Greek Tourism Online, a digital skills program in partnership with the Greek Ministry of Tourism. #greecefromhome gave virtual tours of Greece and provided free digital skills training for over 6,000 Greek tourism businesses during the lockdown. This builds on our efforts to support the tourism sector across the region, helping them grow with digital tools, get access to training and digitize their heritage. 

While this World Tourism Day marks a uniquely challenging period for tourism, it’s also an opportunity to prepare and find new ways to engage with would-be travelers. Google  remains optimistic about the travel industry’s future, and about the role that our tools can play to help it recover.

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