UNWTO has 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 will help them to recover from the impacts 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 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.
Accelerating the adoption of technologies in the Tourism Value Chain
UNWTO Digital Futures seeks to accelerate economic recovery of the tourism sector by scaling up innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to unleash digital technologies to create jobs and enhance future resilience in the linkages of the tourism value chain post COVID-19.
What are the steps for Digital Futures?
While the health crisis was a harsh reality for many SMEs, it also created incredible opportunities for those that could innovate and take advantage of the expansive reach of digital channels. According to an analysis by Mastercard Test and Learn®, digitally enabled SMEs saw a 5.0% increase in customer spending and a 4.5% increase in transactions compared to their peers
The UNWTO Digital Futures Programme recognizes that SMEs are at the forefront of economic recovery and aims to support their digital transformation journey by facilitating the diffusion of relevant technologies to SMEs in the tourism value chain.
Digital Paths for SMEs
The digital paths were curated based on impact assessments of adoption of digital and disruptive technologies in SMEs during the COVID-19 crisis, market trends, and different reports from UNWTO, and other organizations that identified digital fluency, skills shortages, and needs across different tourism subsectors. These digital paths offer top practical tools provided by top tech companies. The content and tools are structured in 5 dimensions which allows SMEs to identify their main needs and tailor a digital path determined by a Digital Readiness Tool and accelerate their digital transformation.
Connectivity The connectivity path is essential to many business functions today. This path will help SMEs to manage and protect their IT infrastructure; it will offer tools on how to build a business network infrastructure, manage IT environments, and configure basic security and other connectivity services for SMEs.
Business Growth The Business Growth path provides several tools to enable SMEs and Entrepreneurs to quickly establish an online presence by learning how to market and growth their business on social media, understand how to market in the digital space globally.
E-Commerce The E-Commerce path aims to provide SMEs and Entrepreneurs with tools and training so they can securely get paid, get capital, and get digital wherever they are through online presence. It also offers solutions to protect their business against cyber threats.
Big Data & Analytics The Big Data and Analytics paths will allow to SMEs and Entrepreneurs to identify customer insights analyzing their online data to develop data-driven advertising campaigns and optimize their operations touring big data into actionable insights and make them a key for informed and timely decisions.
Payments & Security Payments and Security path provides with cybersecurity tools that will help to protect SMEs digital infrastructure by providing cybersecurity knowledge to protect and defend SMEs payment ecosystem delivering security, convenience, and control to your consumers.
UNWTO Digital Futures Benefits
UNWTO Digital Futures is a platform where SMEs can access to digital tools provided by top tech collaborators to transform the tourism sector by offering:
- Digital Readiness Diagnostic Tool to assess key strategic business dimensions and obtain expert recommendations.
- Digital paths and tools to accelerate economic recovery and increase your business resilience.
- Digital upskills training needed to equip your workforce and be successful in the new normal.