Qatar National Tourism Council and UNWTO forge partnerships to develop tourism in Qatar and globally

The World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO) and Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) announced a string of collaborations last week that is set to support the tourism industry in Qatar and globally.

Signed during the UNWTO Secretary-General’s first mission to Doha, the agreements will see QNTC become a sponsor of 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.

Winners of the competition will be incubated in the Barca Innovation Hub and their concepts will also be considered for implementation in Qatar, which is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.

H.E. Akbar Al Baker, Secretary General of QNTC commented, “Qatar has a longstanding tradition of supporting entrepreneurship in sports. We believe sporting events have a unique power to bring people of the world together and that is also why sports tourism is one of six key sub-sectors we are investing in as part of our national tourism strategy. We look forward to seeing the innovative ideas that will come through the inaugural Sports Tourism Start-Up Competition and hope that one of them will come to life in Qatar.”

UNWTO’s Zurab Pololikashvili added, “As host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar is the natural driver for this significant endeavour. Joining forces with a global a sports leader such as Futbol Club Barcelona brings all key players on the same page, underscoring that tourism and sports are two leading sectors and proving that international understanding and cooperation generate opportunities and benefits for all.”

In addition, QNTC will be the founding sponsor of the IE University – UNWTO Tourism Online Academy, an online platform that will provide professionals with easy access to high-quality education and training in the Travel and Tourism, Hospitality and Destination Management fields.

The initiative will provide easily accessible and exhaustive training for people seeking a profession in the tourism sector, which provides one in 10 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.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary General of QNTC commented, “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 to 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 programs that will enable professionals to meet the tourism labour market needs.”

William Davila, Global Director of Corporate Relations at IE University commented, “IE University shapes leaders with a global vision and an entrepreneurial mindset to drive innovation and change in organisations. The Tourism Online Academy in collaboration with UNWTO and with the support of QNTC, will create an important impact in the society, supporting the growth of the 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.”

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, including Msheireb Downtown Doha where they learned about the project’s role in preserving Qatari heritage while attracting investments into the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors.

The delegation also visited Qatar National Library (QNL), which recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its official opening on April 16, 2018. QNL aims to collect, preserve and make available the country’s recorded history.

As a United Nations agency, UNWTO is in charge of the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development.