The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Travelindex Group (which Sustainable First is a part of) joined forces to help SMEs succeed in a post-pandemic world and to raise socio-economic awareness of the tourism sector. UNWTO estimates that micro- and small businesses employ more than half of the sector’s workforce. Small businesses are important engines of employment and economic opportunity but are facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis and the accompanying disruptions, as well as the economic impact of the pandemic.
This first ever partnership with Travelindex Group forms part of UNWTO’s wider shift towards harnessing the power of digital innovation to drive the restart of tourism by giving SME’s the possibility to reach a wider audience, to grow and develop their market share and position.
Travelindex Group has built one of the world’s largest travel and tourism ecosystem with millions of highly engaged visitors and followers across 240 destinations. The ecosystem is open and content-driven, connecting directly over 800,000 companies worldwide through 90 owned online properties and social media channels.
Historically and worldwide, SMEs always played a key role in the growth of tourism, and contribute to employment creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and income generation. However, they face numerous obstacles and challenges in particular in an increasingly digital world. Travelindex Group offers a range of dedicated websites to the industry as well as services that help empower local SMEs for more online visibility and reach.
UNWTO’s partnership with the Travelindex Group will show that sustainable and responsible travel is possible, if not indispensable, in the post-pandemic world. Joint efforts will highlight the importance of the role played by small, medium size and micro-enterprises, all playing a decisive role and vital contribution to the sector’s recovery.
“Countless small businesses and destinations are ready to welcome the world back to their doorsteps,” said Bernard Metzger, Founder and CEO at Travelindex Group. “Travelindex Group is proud to provide a platform and ecosystem not only for large groups but, at no costs, for small businesses in the tourism sector to help them, and their employees and families, to recover faster and more sustainably. Our aim is to contribute to the growth and development of local SMEs and, ultimately, of the entire sector.”
One of the key websites of the Group in this exercise is our website, Sustainable First, a platform that features truly sustainable businesses and destinations, focuses on the impact these have in their local community and which Sustainable Development Goals they are working towards. “This partnership is a natural fit for us, our values and mission are truly aligned with UNWTO’s. Our platform is all about highlighting best practices in sustainability in Tourism and we are focused on bringing especially the amazing sustainable work SMEs are doing, already leading by example, to a wider audience.” said Mafalda Borea, Chair and Co-Founder of Sustainable First and Board Member of Travelindex Group.
Advancing UNWTO’s digital shift
This collaboration with Travelindex Group builds on UNWTO’s ongoing turn towards greater use of digital tools and visual storytelling to make clear the relevance and importance of tourism to economies, societies, and planet. The Organization has accelerated this shift in its efforts to scale up Member support and enable them to better seize the advantages of digital communications platforms.