UNWTO and Microsoft unveil emergency response portal


THE United Nations Wold Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Microsoft used the occasion of World Travel Market, to demonstrate its new Emergency Response System.

The move was timed to be able to demonstrate the comprehensive portal to industry and government leaders present at the event.
The ERS is designed to be a one-stop shop for tourism stakeholders to track disasters and to help in response activity. The portal links to major public and private sector networks, as well as the emergency response databases that UNWTO is developing.
“Our goal is to serve the industry and eventually tourists themselves with this new tool which has been made possible through the close working relationship with Microsoft,” said UNWTO Assistant Secretary General Geoffrey Lipman. “In the coming months we will seek expanded industry input as we move from a BETA to a live system which will provide 24/7 tracking of major emergencies from a tourism perspective.”
Added Frank McCosker, Microsoft managing director, Global Strategic Accounts, “The portal is a great example of where software and technology can make a difference. In times of medical crisis or natural disasters, tourism operators and tourists will have a place to access reliable information and the guidance of the UNWTO when it is most needed.”
Initial action is related to avian flu where the information and response system has been focused for the past year. It will house the Tourism Emergency Response Network (TERN) – a loose grouping of global, regional and national industry organizations collaborating to exchange information and develop public messages in relation to a potential flu pandemic.
The site was developed as part of a long-term co-operation between UNTWO and Microsoft.