UNWTO Exe Training Programme kick starts in Trivandrum

The government is planning to give not just a ‘wow’ experience to the travellers, instead it aims at giving a ‘transforming experience’, said Union Minister for State for Tourism K J Alphons while inaugurating the UNWTO Executive Training Programme on Tourism Policy and Strategy at the RGCC Convention Centre, The Leela Raviz Kovalam in Trivandrum. Alphons also added that the government’s vision is that the tourists should go back from India feeling rejuvenated, realising a new person within. The minister also said that technology is the future and it’s very well connected with the tourism industry.

“The promotional video put up on the ITB Berlin trade fair has garnered 17 million views in 12 days which showcases the power of social media and digital technology. Social media and technology plays a huge part when tourists zero in on destinations to travel to. Therefore we must update our tourism promotional policies according to the rapidly developing technology.” “Electronic travel visas implemented by the Indian government are one such step towards the harnessing potential of technology in the sector.1 million tourists out of the 10 million who visited India in the last year have made use of E visas. We hope to raise the number to 3 million in the coming year”, he added.

“Kerala has always moved with the times to harness the power of technology to promote, market and sustain tourism activities .Today Kerala Tourism’s focus is on promoting Responsible Tourism where local communities are aided to be part of a sustainable system of production and distribution of services while boosting tourism,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation, and Devaswoms, Government of Kerala. He also added that Kerala tourism has always been a step ahead in utilizing technology by becoming the first State of the country to launch an official Tourism website and also the first to have social media handlers.

“Growth in world tourism is closely related to the advancement of technology. VR and other technology has transformed the tourism sector.Therefore we need to understand and take advantage of the technology to move forward in the tourism sector. I have always wondered why India is marketed as Incredible India, but today when I came to Kerala I understood why India is incredible,” said Yu Byung Chae, Director, Tourism Industry Policy Division, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea.

“2017 has recorded highest growth rate of international tourist arrivals across the borders of the world since 2010 coming in at 7 per cent. Asia and Pacific accounts for 25 per cent of the global market share market share and 30 per cent of the tourism income of market share. International growth rate in the sub region of South Asia achieved a growth rate of 10 per cent in 2017 led by India at the rate by 15 per cent. India, being a leader in technology, plays the best host to this training event” said Xu Jing, Director, Regional Programme for Asia and Pacific UNWTO.

The 12th UNWTO Asia/Pacific Executive Training Programme on Tourism Policy and Strategy co-organized by UNWTO, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea will be held in Thiruvananthapuram, the Kerala capital city from 19 – 22 March 2018. The overall theme for the 12th iteration of the UNWTO Asia/Pacific Executive Training Programme is Tourism and Technology.

Over the next three days, the training programme would look to enhance participants’ understanding of how to maximize the use of technology for the benefit of tourism with a focus on how to inform national tourism authorities on the importance of technology so as to support the management of the unprecedented growth of sector growth in the region.

The programme will also aim at preparing national tourism authorities for the continued expansion of technology as a tool for destination development, management and innovation; adapt technology towards supporting inclusive and sustainable growth of tourism in the region; deploy technology and social media support in contributing towards destination marketing and quality assurance; and adopt policy level decisions so that they can help improve the effectiveness of the use of technology to ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of a tourism destination.

Besides, the training programme would strive to enable UNWTO’s Asia and the Pacific Member Countries to share successful tourism good practices in the use of technology. The ultimate objective is to strengthen the capacity of destinations at the regional, sub-regional, national and destination levels.
The sessions on the opening day, in a bid to broaden the scope of discussions, has been made open for local participants in Kerala. The country presentations later on will detail national policies and strategies to utilize technology to augment marketing efforts, improve sustainability measures, and spur innovation.

On the second day of the Training programme, a session on “Good Practice in Destination Management and Operation through the Application of Transformative Technological Solutions” will be organised. This session will examine the cases of tourism and hospitality companies that have been successful in adopting emerging technological developments and have produced new business models. Keynote presentations by experts will cover good practices in tourism & technology and examine how the visitor experience is optimized. Rani George, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala,will deliver the closing remarks on March 21. The last day of the Training Program (March 22) will have a Technical Tour organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala.