Amadeus, UNWTO and Kenya’s Tourism Ministry partner to boost local tourism

Amadeus, a provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry, United Nations World Tourism Organization- UNWTO (UNWTO) and Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism of have signed a Memorandum of Understanding,to foster inclusive, local economic growth, through Travel & Tourism.

The signing took place at the WTM (World Travel Market) show in London by Juan Torres, East Africa Regional General Manager Amadeus; TalebRifae, UNWTO Secretary General and Lazarus Amayo, Kenyan High Commissioner to the UK represented the Ministry of Tourism.

(TOP: Juan Torres, East Africa Regional GM, Amadeus IT Group; Lazarus Amayo, the Kenyan High Commissioner in the UK from the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism Taleb Rifai, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General).

The stakeholders from the private and public sectors and UN system have teamed up to increase the ability of women and youth from underserved communities, to access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the travel and tourism industries.

Under the MoU, the partners are developing a pilot project in Kenya to which they are inviting other travel and tourism companies, as well as local gender and youth empowerment stakeholders, to participate with their resources and infrastructure, ensuring the young women and men can earn a living from the skills they acquire.

The lessons learned from a successful pilot in Kenya will serve to replicate the development methodology in other countries with similar socio-economic circumstances not only in Africa but further beyond.

Kenya will reach out to other government and non-governmental institutions in the country with competence of tourism, gender and youth empowerment, to support the implementation of the pilot project.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism NajibBalala notes: “The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest and most dynamic industries in today’s global economy. Tourism is a key backbone to the region’s economic growth, with a projected growth of 16% by end of 2016. This initiative enables us to empower women and youth whilst building our local tourism and travel industry.”

Amadeus will engage its partners in travel and tourism, to bring specialised and business-critical training to the beneficiaries. To consolidate the skills learnt, the travel and tourism companies will aim to provide practical experience and supply chain opportunities for the successful trainees.

Svend Leirvaag, Vice President Industry Affairs, Amadeus IT Group adds;“the growing significance of technology in the industry depends on skill levels, professionalism, and commitment of the work force. At Amadeus, we endeavor to equip communities with new technologies, but for social innovation and inclusive development to happen on a scale that can bring real change, we must involve multiple stakeholders in the industry.”

UNWTO will contribute through access to UN agencies and other key partners to advise on methodology for the inclusion of vulnerable groups into the project and training resources on their socio-economic empowerment through tourism.

TalebRifai, UNWTO Secretary General has on several occasions stressed on the importance of technology in the tourism sector. A sector that has grown to become a pillar of the global economy in a significant part by advances in technology; both in communications and infrastructure.

“We need to better understand the impact of technology on our sector and maximize the new opportunities it creates to improve the competitiveness of destinations, make travel safer and easier, and manage our natural resources more effectively,”said Rifai.

Rifai stressed the importance of the project in promoting gender equality in tourism “though in most regions women make up the majority of the tourism workforce, they tend to be concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs and perform a large amount of unpaid work in family tourism businesses. We thus need to work together to ensure women can access better jobs in tourism”.

Amadeus the UNWTO and Ministry of Tourism will promote this cooperation in Kenya and East Africa region, to increase awareness on the potential of women and youth in the travel and tourism sectors. The parties aim to complete the first pilot training before the end of 2017.

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