Virtual Observatory

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.