Promoting local tourism in developing and emerging countries through digital approaches

Business Scouts for Development programme offers various support measures to ease effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

The tourism sector is one of the sectors most affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly problematic in many developing and emerging countries as the sector provides many employment opportunities for the local population and is a source of revenue and foreign currencies and investments. To support the sector in selected countries, the Business Scouts for Development developed a series of interventions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to further promote sustainable development in this context.

Tourism has become one of the largest and most dynamic sectors of external economic growth in many countries across the world. The tremendous growth goes along with the inflow of significant volumes of foreign currency and infrastructural development, which in turn has a positive impact on several other sectors of the economy. Tourism thus undoubtedly contributes to the economic and social development of countries – especially if they are developing or emerging ones.

With the lack of foreign tourists arriving, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing the tourism sector to struggle in most of these countries, having a major negative impact on both the economy and living conditions of the local population. Therefore, it is important to support the tourism sector in emerging and developing countries in implementing preventive measures to restrict the spread of the Coronavirus to make the destinations safe for tourists to come, as well as in preparing local tourism providers to approach sustainable development, new markets and customers in the future. As virtual training formats are easily accessible tools to do so and reach a broad audience, the Business Scouts for Development launched various digital support measures targeting the local tourism sectors in several partner countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Business Scout’s Tourism Academy

The Business Scouts’ Tourism Academy, which is implemented together with sequa gGmbH, is one of these measures. In the virtual training series starting at the end of August 2021 participating companies can e.g. learn how to define their Unique Selling Point (USP) and prepare elevator pitches. In addition, participants can also improve their skills in terms of digital marketing which will be especially relevant for tourism professionals who wish to improve their online visibility. On you can learn more about the opportunities that will initially be offered in English for companies in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Rwanda and Uganda and as of September will be also held in French for tourism operators in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. All courses offered as part of the Business Scouts’ Tourism Academy are free of charge.

Just in time: Virtual trainings in the hospitality sector

Another virtual training format by the Business Scouts for Development programme is offered in the hospitality sector and implemented by the reputed Gastronomic Training Centre Koblenz. In eight countries worldwide, participants of a virtual series can gain training in basic hygiene and safety standards. These trainings have reached more than 150 multipliers of local associations so far and will continue until the end of 2021. While for some of the partners of the hospitality sector it is a refreshment of their current hygiene policy and standards in the light of pandemic experience, for others it is a novelty. In late 2021 the training will be continued with the implementation of a full-fledged and certified training course for hygiene managers in the hospitality industry.

Strengthening Latin America's “job engine”

The Business Scouts are also supporting the tourism sector in Latin America with virtual training formats during this challenging period. To this end, a set of trainings developed by the German Chambers in Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador aims at local practitioners and experts to strengthen the resilience and further development of Latin Americas top “job engine”. Tour guides, travel agencies and tour operators, hotel and resort representatives as well as destination managers and especially employees of micro and small enterprises learn about basic concepts and good practices in order to take first and further steps towards sustainable tourism.

In addition, based on earlier cooperations with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Sequa, the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Colombia is developing education and training courses on sustainable tourism with an emphasis on circular economy and sustainable food supply chains. In cooperation with GIZ and financed through the German Sector Dialogue, the focus is, among other things, on advice and support for the implementation and monitoring of change projects and the promotion of a knowledge transfer strategy based on the train-the-trainer principle.

The programme

The measures in the tourism sector take place as part of the work of the Business Scouts for Development programme. Business Scouts for Development work as development policy experts in around 40 countries across the globe. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ), they advise German, European and local companies on development policy matters and promote responsible business engagement through cooperation projects.

Headerphoto: © GIZ / Thomas Imo/

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