The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) co-organised a high-level design thinking session on the heels of the Doha Forum, a global platform that promotes the interchange of ideas, discourse, policy making, and action-oriented dialogue. 

The session brought together over 30 experts from the public and private sectors, including international and non-profit organisations, funding agencies, entrepreneurs, and research and innovation centres. Discussions focused on generating innovative, actionable proposals and establishing commitments for continued collaboration and implementation. HRH Princess Dana Firas of Jordan joined the afternoon session of the workshop to provide feedback on the generated projects during presentations.

The proposals included initiatives to empower local communities, make travel accessible for all, provide educational opportunities in the tourism field, as well as develop ecologically sustainable models.

HE Al Baker Doha Forum
QNTC Secretary General and GCEO of Qatar Airways, HE Akbar Al Baker, during the Doha Forum Plenary Session

The design thinking session followed on the participation of UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and QNTC Secretary General and GCEO of Qatar Airways, HE Akbar Al Baker, in the Doha Forum Plenary Session: Protecting the Benefits of Tourism in a Multilateral World. The session convened state leaders to explore what can be done through collaboration to reduce the negative impacts of conflict on travel and tourism and to bolster tourism as a driver of peace.

HE Al Baker remarked that tourism is an important sector not only in terms of tangible economic impact, but also for building bridges of understanding between peoples and changing deeply-rooted misperceptions.

We are proud of the role tourism and aviation have played in creating more awareness and understanding of our country, and of the policy of openness which has made us the most welcoming country in the Middle East.

We are pleased to see the dialogue on tourism take its rightful place on the global agenda, and to share these important insights from the Middle East with our counterparts around the world through the wide-reaching Doha Forum platform.’

Pololikashvili, meanwhile, spoke of how education remains one of their main priorities.

Thanks to the Tourism Online Academy, a joint initiative between UNWTO and IE University, we would have the opportunity to train, democratise and scale the way people are educated in the tourism sector. Our vision is to provide global opportunities to people who are interested in tourism and address the gap between jobs, skills and education.’

In the spirit of global tourism solutions, QNTC recently became the Destination Partner of the UNWTO Tourism Online Academy, the first initiative supported by the United Nations that aims to democratise and professionalise tourism education and capacity building. Since the launch of the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in November, the platform is already shaping the minds of over 1500 tourism professionals.

Today, UNWTO proudly presents the first Online Certificate Program by its first academic partner IE University, focused on the Fundamentals of Tourism-Industry Management.