The Centre will also house a Virtual Observatory. This is similar to the European Union Tourism Observatory, which aims to support policy makers and help businesses to develop better strategies for a more competitive global tourism sector.
The Virtual Tourism Observatory provides access to a broad collection of information, data and analysis on current trends in the tourism sector. While the Observatory provides access to this information, the Think Tank provides the end result/output of this information as the experts use this raw knowledge to create reasoned policy solutions/ideas. The Observatory is therefore available for the access of all persons who are interested in data on tourism in any country/regio n. This observatory can therefore enhance academic scholarship. It will include the latest available figures on the sector's trends and volumes, economic and environmental impact, and the origin and profile of tourists.
The observatory will contain the following information/data:
- Country Tourism Profiles
- Tourism statistics with user-friendly and interactive manipulative functions which allows users to pull-down graphs, charts and manipulate the data to produce measures of central tendencies and minimal bivariate analysis
- Studies and reports from all around the world that are related to tourism
- Travel advisories for all regions
- Best Tourist hotspots and attractions for all regions
The Virtual Observatory will also act as a <em>Monitoring and Evaluation Unit for the Centre</em>. This Virtual Observatory will primarily be responsible for non-stop monitoring of all tourism-related constructs. The unit will be responsible for global and regional audit of the tourism sector in an effort to identify small problems that have the potential to cripple the industry as well as uncover any hidden problems that may escape the required urgent focus. This makes the sector more resilient by affording forecast and foresight. This unit will therefore operate like a watchtower or a lighthouse for tourism globally.
The monitoring thrust of this unit will also be geared towards training individuals through tourism conferences such as the UNWTO conference held in Montego Bay recently. The unit will keep abreast of activities within the tourism sector through seminars and discussions, as well as activities and actions, policies, and commitments of all core stakeholders of the sector. These actions will establish a global database of all the promised/committed, ongoing, and proposed projects or activities by all these stakeholders, essentially, a Global Tourism To-Do List. By doing this, the Centre will be able to better advocate and lobby these stakeholders by reminding them of their commitments as well as to provide information to interested individuals or organizatio n s. This will help to globally streamline tourism activities as well as create a sense of uniformity in global tourism activitie s. The Virtual Observatory will be managed by the UNWTO.