Yesterday in Madrid, Microsoft announced that it became a strategic partner with the UN World Tourism Organization, in hopes to drive the implementation of new technologies, primarily cloud computing, in tourism. The new partnership would be beneficial to the 155 UNWTO member countries, and over 400 affiliate members from the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities - by helping them to establish cloud technology.
According to Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, “the tourism sector has undergone a drastic transformation over the past years and has been evolving towards Tourism 3.0, where users connect to travel websites and interact by sharing their experiences, thus directly influencing the perceptions and decisions of other users and potential travellers. Because of this, it is more and more important for tourism sector enterprises to develop their online businesses by looking to the most advanced technology. In this regard, the adoption of cloud computing is key, as it provides access to a solid web platform that will make it possible to offer more productive, efficient and competitive services."
The UNWTO will recognize Microsoft as the go-to source for its new, cloud-based workflow, including productivity tools, instant messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, distance-training solutions, customer relationship management and application development tools. Currently, roughly 1 in 12 people worldwide work in the tourism industry, which generates about 5% of the global GDP. The UNWTO hopes to improve their competitiveness and productivity with Microsoft's assistance.
In a statement Microsoft asserts that it "puts a great deal of importance on this type of public-private partnership at the national, regional and international levels. We feel these ties are critical to promoting economic growth and competitiveness."