Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) became the founding sponsor of the IE University UNWTO Tourism Online Academy, which was established following a signing ceremony in Doha.

The agreement was signed by Hassan Al Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary General of Qatar National Tourism Council and William Davila, Global Director of Corporate Relations at IE University, in the presence of HE Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO).

The online platform will provide professionals with easy access to high quality education and training in Travel and Tourism, and Hospitality and Destination Management fields. The initiative will provide easily accessible and exhaustive training for people seeking careers in the tourism sector, which provides one in ten jobs globally.

The academy will benefit from UNWTO’s thorough knowledge and expertise in tourism, as well as IE University’s innovative education model. Graduates will receive an IE University UNWTO Online Tourism Academy certification in Foundations of Management Applied to Tourism. The curriculum will cover strategy management, operations management, marketing management, finance fundamentals, as well as technology and innovation management.

Al Ibrahim said Qatar is constantly striving to be at the cutting-edge of a rapidly and dynamically developing industry.

As a government organisation focused on ensuring the best possible experiences (of) our visitors, QNTC recognises the vital role that tourism education and training institutions play in leading the industry towards competitiveness and sustainability. And, we are pleased to support UNWTO in developing and delivering programmes that will enable professionals to meet the tourism labour market needs.’

William Davila, Global Director of Corporate Relations at IE University, said that the Tourism Online Academy in collaboration with UNWTO and with QNTC, will create an important impact in society, supporting the growth of tourism industry on a global basis.

The signing of this agreement is the first step in the creation of the Tourism Online Academy. Many more steps will be taken in the coming months to provide online high-quality training for everyone in this important industry.’

National Tourism Experience Awards

QNTC also announced that the UNWTO is lending its expertise to help develop the Qatar National Tourism Experience Awards programme.  The awards programme will recognise businesses, public entities, NGO, and associations, operating both inside and outside of Qatar and across all sectors, that are directly or indirectly contributing to the delivery of exceptional experiences to Qatar visitors.

According to Al Ibrahim, the awards will be driven by QNTC, as part of its strategy to place the visitor experience at the heart of tourism development.

Our aim is to emphasise that the experiences offered to visitors are not only a result of services or products provided by tourism or hospitality professionals but the result of an array of practices across several industries that span the end-to-end visitor journey.’

UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili said that the awards are not an end to themselves but rather a motivation to drive excellence in tourism development. He added that the awards will put the spotlight on best practices which will be relevant for Qatar and beyond, given its international relevance.

The development of the award comes shortly after the establishment of a National Tourism Council in Qatar, ushering in a new governance structure for the tourism sector that is built on unity, clarity and synergy.

The new governance model, the global promotion initiative (Qatar… Qurated For You) and the tourism experience award are all key components of a five-year strategy launched in 2017 that focuses on delivering and promoting modern and authentic end-to-end visitor experiences.

The agreements were signed during Pololikashvili’s first visit to Qatar as UNWTO Secretary General, during which he visited a number of key tourism landmarks with his delegation.

Earlier in the visit QNTC signed on to support the first UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-Up Competition, which will be carried out in collaboration with Futbol Club Barcelona (FCB). The competition aims to promote and strengthen the tourism and sports sectors, while enhancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and boosting innovation in sports tourism.

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