The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Microsoft unveiled the Beta site of the new Emergency Response System (ERS) to help the tourism sector respond to natural and man-made disaster situations. Microsoft developed the system as part of a long-term cooperation agreed with the organization last year.
Recently, the tourism organization and Microsoft demonstrated the new comprehensive emergency response portal for industry and government leaders during a major travel 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. It will also link with the emergency response databases that the tourism organization is in the process of 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 on 7 tracking of major emergencies from a tourism perspective,” he added.
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 that is a loose grouping of global, regional and national industry organizations collaborating to exchange information and develop public messages regarding a potential flu pandemic.