Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille has signed an agreement with global tech giant, Google, aimed at promoting South Africa as a prime tourist destination, the department announced on Monday.
The Minister and Dr Alistair Mokoena, Country Director for Google South Africa, signed the agreement in Cape Town.
This partnership, according to the department, is in line with the Ministry’s mission to grow tourism to its full potential, unlock the power of technology in the sector and increase arrivals to South Africa to support economic growth and job creation.
“In an era of digital transformation, collaboration between technology giants and government entities has the potential to reshape industries and enhance public services. As stated in the Tourism Sector Green Paper, there is a ‘lack of support mechanisms for the [tourism] sector, particularly SMMEs, to adapt to a digital future and other technological advancements.
“This visionary partnership between Google and the Ministry of Tourism, focuses on non-monetary exchanges to leverage each parties’ strengths for mutual benefits,” de Lille said.
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Google intends to provide support to the Ministry to achieve its mandate through providing access to initiatives and programmes in South Africa that are beneficial to the sector.
Mokoena said they were excited to partner with the Department of Tourism and to sign the letter of intent which aims to position South Africa as a great tourist destination.
“As a company that prides itself in organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful, we look forward to rolling out various programmes in conjunction with the department, to fast-track digital transformation in the sector, helping with digital skills and showcasing South African tourism through our Google Arts & Culture platform,” Mokoena explained.
The department stressed that no monetary exchange would take place as a result of the agreement.
Some of the areas of collaboration include the sharing of insights into global travel trends. This information can guide the Department of Tourism and South African Tourism’s strategies for targeting specific markets and tailoring experiences to visitor expectations.
In addition, tourism start-ups can be supported by Google programmes such as the Startup Accelerator and the Black Founders Fund.
“By tapping into Google’s technology through digital skills training and the sharing of insights, South Africa’s industry, notably SMMEs, can be present their offerings in innovative ways, engaging potential tourists, and inspiring them to explore the country,” Minister de Lille highlighted.