Niantic becomes an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation

Further to Pokémon Go developer Niantic teaming up with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to enhance global tourism and develop “innovative tourism experiences through real-world games” last year, the UNWTO has invited the company into its global network of influential affiliate members. 

Niantic – which will continue to support innovation in the tourism sector by “identifying trends and new ways of travelling in a digital world” – is celebrating the partnership and raising awareness for UNWTO with a special in-game promotion that includes UNWTO shirt for trainers in Pokémon Go.

“UNWTO is reaching out to technology and communication partners beyond tourism to identify new ways of promoting destinations and reaching new audiences,” a press release said. “This refers specifically to the digital native generation, that is those who have grown up in a digital world where they have easy access to an overwhelming amount of information”.

“At our General Assembly, UNWTO expressed its commitment to embracing technology and innovation in order to make our sector more sustainable, more inclusive and a real driver of social and economic change,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO secretary-general. “This exciting new partnership with Niantic will help us meet these goals. I warmly welcome them into our Affiliate Members network and I am confident UNWTO and Niantic can work together to help transform the way we travel and better promote the many benefits of responsible tourism.” 

“We’re excited to be part of UNWTO’s global Affiliate Members network where together, we’ll be able to expand our collective goal of promoting global tourism through the use of innovative technologies,” said Anne Beuttenmüller, Niantic’s head of marketing in Europe. “Real-world games have proven to have an incredible impact on cities and communities around the world and we’re honoured to help raise awareness by providing Trainers in Pokémon GO access to a new in-game UNWTO shirt for their avatars to kick off World Tourism Day 2019.”

In other Niantic news, Pokémon Go developer Niantic recently acquired augmented reality developer Sensible Object. The acquisition, which was completed for an undisclosed sum, will see the studio rebranded as Niantic London. The company – perhaps best known for its tabletop game Beasts of Balance – will form the core of Niantic’s new HQ, along with staff from Matrix Mill, a spin-out company from UCL that specialises in “applying artificial intelligence and machine vision research to solve industry problems” which was acquired by Niantic last year.

In a bid to suppress a number of “cheat” apps based upon of its most popular games, we recently reported that Niantic has reportedly filed an injunction against the hacker group responsible for their distribution. The lawsuit – which specifically names Ryan “ElliotRobot” Hunt, Alen “iOS n00b” Hundur, and lists 20 other unknown members of Global++ – accuses the group of being an “association of hackers” that makes “unauthorised derivative versions” of its augmented reality games.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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