- The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality will empower the next generation of tourism leaders and bridge the huge global tourism skills gap.
- First-of-its-kind curriculum of higher education academic and elite vocational training will reimagine tourism education by offering rich, diverse, and innovative learning experiences to prepare graduates for the sector’s future.
- First announced in 2021, the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is co-founded by Ministry of Tourism and Qiddiya in collaboration with UNWTO and has appointed a distinguished board of trustees.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — New details about the pioneering Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality have been unveiled at the World Tourism Day (WTD) event, hosted in Riyadh. First announced in 2021, the school is co-founded by the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Qiddiya in collaboration with UNWTO.
The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is envisioned to become the world’s first student-centric academy to unite all facets of tourism training required to empower the next generation of tourism and hospitality leaders from around the world and bridge the global tourism skills gap.
The new developments were announced during a press conference hosted by the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, and the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvil on the sidelines of the World Tourism Day event.
To be located at the Kingdom’s entertainment megaproject headquarters, Qiddiya, with an interim facility at Princess Nourah University, the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality reaffirms Saudi Arabia’s position as a leader in advancing the global tourism sector and underscores its commitment to bridging the global skills shortage to accelerate the industry’s future growth. The school will be accepting students from Q4 2024 and by 2030 will have a student intake of more than 25,000 per year.
Currently, the majority of international tourism institutes do not offer both academic and vocational education across the breadth and depth of the ecosystem within one institution. Through a pioneering hybrid curriculum, the student-centric institution will capitalise on this opportunity by bringing together the brightest minds, cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art facilities and top faculty to create a holistic, career-focused program.
The board of trustees for the school will include multi-disciplined leaders from diverse backgrounds from tourism and hospitality to investment and Ed-Tech. In addition to His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, are Qiddiya’s Managing Director Abdullah AlDawood, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, CEO of Accor Hotels Sebastian Bazin, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority Jerry Inzerillo, Morgan Parker, and CEO of Udacity Kai Roemmelt amongst others that will be announced in due course.
His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, said: “Success of the tourism sector extends far beyond economic growth, but hinges on the commitment of governments worldwide to equip future tourism leaders with the skills required to thrive in this fast-evolving industry.
“The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is Saudi’s gift to the world. Through its pioneering curriculum, that will offer comprehensive higher education courses covering all aspects of the tourism and hospitality industry, the school represents Saudi’s commitment to providing comprehensive, progressive education that empowers individuals, both domestically and internationally. As we invest in the next generation of tourism professionals, we are not only securing the industry’s future but also fostering a legacy of excellence that will drive prosperity, stimulate individual growth of citizens and foster cultural exchange for years to come.”
Additionally, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, added: “The latest developments of the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality mark an important milestone in our pursuit of a more sustainable and resilient tourism sector. Education is the bedrock of progress, and by investing in the skills and knowledge of future tourism leaders, we are strengthening the foundations upon which the industry’s growth and development depend.”
As the tourism sector continues its economic growth trajectory – poised to reach $9.5 trillion in GDP contribution in 2023 – the sector is predicted to employ 430 million people globally by 2033, with almost 12% of the working population employed in the sector. With the fastest growing travel and tourism sector in the Middle East according to the WTTC, Saudi Arabia had trained 80,000 citizens by 2022, and committed to investing over $100 million in education and training.
The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is part of the Kingdom’s broader commitment to the development of the global tourism sector, demonstrated by their hosting of WTD 2023. Under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments”, attendees are exploring the essential role of tourism and global collaboration in driving prosperity, bridging cultures and preserving the environment through a variety of activities.
About The Ministry of Tourism
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism was founded in 2020, following the opening of Saudi Arabia to international tourists in 2019. The Ministry spearheads the Kingdom’s Vision to bring Saudi tourism to the forefront. Its endeavors align with the Kingdom’s ambitious goals, aiming to create 1 million jobs for its citizens, enable accelerated and sustainable growth with future-focused policies, investments, and talent development guided by data, receive 100 million tourism visits by 2030, and amplify the sector’s GDP contribution from 3% to 10%. In doing so, the Ministry of Tourism issues licenses and classifications for tourism activities and creates and approves tourist visa regulations.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations specialized agency for fostering tourism as a vehicle for equal, inclusive and sustainable development. Working with its Member States, international organizations and the private sector, UNWTO promotes safe and seamless travel for all. UNWTO also works to make tourism the foundation of trust and international cooperation and a central pillar of growth and opportunity. As part of the wider UN system, UNWTO is at the forefront of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through its ability to create decent jobs, promote equality and preserve natural and cultural heritage.
Qiddiya is set to become a vibrant, livable, entertainment, sports and cultural destination that is currently being developed on the doorstep of Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. Its philosophy mirrors Saudi’s Vision 2030 that seeks to build an ambitious nation with a vibrant society and thriving economy. Set amid the Kingdom’s stunning natural landscapes, the avant-garde giga project will include everything from family-friendly theme parks and sophisticated sports venues to elaborate concert halls and beautiful public spaces, all set within minutes of urban city centers offering places to live, work, and stay, and also to shop, dine and visit.
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