Tourism Department emphasises ‘no money was exchanged’ in Google deal
Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille and Google’s Country Director for South Africa, Dr Alistair Mokoena, officially inked the agreement in Cape Town, on Monday.
This partnership, the department noted in a statement, aligns with the ministry’s mission to grow tourism, unlock technology’s power in the sector, and support economic growth and job creation.
“The primary goal of this collaboration is to harness Google’s technological expertise to support the Ministry of Tourism’s efforts in promoting South Africa as a prime tourist destination. The partnership aims to facilitate knowledge sharing, skills development, and the use of digital tools to enhance tourism experiences and sustainability,” the statement read.
Importantly, the Tourism Dept stressed that the agreement involves no monetary exchange and is rather focused on mutual benefit through knowledge and resource sharing.
What the tourism industry can expect from the landmark deal
Google’s collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism extends to offering insights on global travel trends, vital for tailoring strategies to visitor expectations.
Insights and Digital Skills Training
Specific studies on the impact of digital platforms will also be conducted. In terms of skills training, Google will provide various digital skills initiatives, including the Google Hustle Academy and masterclasses.
More than 2 773 South African SMMEs have already benefited from these programs.
Promoting Culture and Heritage Digitally
Through the Google Arts and Culture platform, South African tourism sites and cultural heritage will be showcased globally.
The partnership aims to get more sites online and feature thematic stories significant to the Department. This approach will help in preserving South Africa’s cultural and heritage sites digitally.
Fostering Thought Leadership in Tourism
The partnership also involves creating a tourism thought leadership seminar to present commissioned research results and explore the impact of online content and digital platforms.
This seminar aims to share knowledge and best practices on leveraging digital platforms for economic growth in tourism.
“The envisioned partnership between Google and the Ministry signifies the convergence of technological innovation and public service. This strategic partnership embraces the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit, setting an inspiring precedent for future public-private collaborations. It is important to emphasise that this agreement by no means precludes the Ministry and its department from collaborating with other technological partners in a similar fashion, to benefit the tourism industry in totality,” Minister De Lille said.