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World Telecommunication and Information Society Day Providing Sustainable Tourism Solutions

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day Providing Sustainable Tourism Solutions ( Madrid 16 May 2008 - Information and communication technology (ICT) plays an increasingly important role in the tourism industry and eTourism solutions have become a key issue in UNWTO’s operational strategy. Destination marketing and management, emergency response, responding to the challenges of climate change, ICT training, and safety and facilitation enhancement are among the areas advanced by the Organization.

With over 1.4 billion Internet users, the use of ICT tools has become a competitive factor for both tourism destinations and enterprises.

“Internet has expanded faster than any other communications medium in history. In less than two decades it has become a driving force of change that leaves few areas of our lives unaffected and tourism has not been at all indifferent to this revolution. 41% of all tourists arriving to Spain, the world’s second international destination, booked their trip through the Internet last year, while online bookings surpassed offline bookings for the first time ever in the USA”, said UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General, Geoffrey Lipman. 

UNWTO has teamed up with Microsoft to provide ICT solutions to address some of the challenges of the sector in general, and for countries and destinations in particular, as agreed in the public-private partnership signed in 2006.

This alliance will help countries take advantage of the growing Internet economy to build and expand their tourism industry. The efforts focus on supporting countries, regions and cities to raise the profile of their destinations. Programmes include: 
Promotion and management of destinations with tourism portals and e-marketing skills. 
Building both the Online Capacity and Capabilities of the small, independent travel suppliers.

Furthermore, UNWTO is developing eTourism projects in support of all stakeholders involved in the tourism sector: is a one-stop emergency response platform for public information sharing and rapid messaging. It will also serve as a tracking system for all emergencies and crises affecting tourists and the sector during natural or man-made crises.  will not only be developed into a unique eTourism Social Network and use the latest digital identification and security techniques to support UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. 

UNWTO takes advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet in its commitment to promote the sustainable development of the sector, especially in developing countries, working towards the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals

Media Officer: Marcelo Risi T: +34 91-567-8178 /8100 - F: +34 91-567-8218 -

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