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null Minister of Economy honors university students and graduates participating in ‘Tourism TechGen’ program

05 Dec 2022

Minister of Economy honors university students and graduates participating in ‘Tourism TechGen’ program


H.E Bin Touq: The UAE is keen to engage young nationals in tourism sector growth and the program promotes the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in national universities & schools


 H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, felicitated university students and graduates who participated in the ‘Tourism TechGen’ initiative. The program was launched by the Ministry of Economy (MoE) in October 2022 in cooperation with several national universities, tourism authorities, and tourism sector partners in the country and in partnership with Plug and Play innovation platform. The Tourism TechGen program, which took place over a period of four weeks, witnessed the participation of more than 657 students and graduates from various universities in the UAE.

The ceremony was held by the Ministry at Zayed University in Dubai and was attended by H.E.  Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy; H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General of Tourism Sector at Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi; and H.E.  Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority; Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Saeed Amidi, Founder and CEO of Plug and Play; Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad Aviation Group; and Mohammed Abdullah Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral.

H.E. Bin Touq said: “Thanks to the vision and directives of its wise leadership, the UAE remains keen to support and engage national talent and competencies in the tourism sector’s growth. They have a lot of potential in promoting the growth of this vital sector and advancing it to competitive levels regionally and globally. Based on this belief, the Ministry of Economy continues to design solutions, initiatives, and supportive programs to enable and empower Emirati students and youth in various fields and economic activities. Tourism is of great significance in this regard and therefore, we are working on developing their personal and professional skills and inculcating a spirit of creativity, responsibility, and ambition in them, so that they can contribute better to the UAE’s sustainable development.”

The Minister of Economy added: “Through the Tourism TechGen initiative, we seek to contribute to the UAE’s efforts to instill the culture of entrepreneurship in university and school students by encouraging them to innovate and create. We are providing all opportunities and enablers needed to transform their inspiring ideas into real and sustainable projects in the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors over the coming years.”

H.E. also indicated that Tourism TechGen supports the achievement of the objectives of the National Tourism Strategy 2031, which was launched last November, by motivating young nationals to participate in various tourism sector activities by equipping them with future skills, building capacities, and enhancing their awareness on the importance of the tourism sector as a key driver of national economy.  

The four main focus areas of the strategy are the strengthening of the national tourism identity, development and diversification of specialized tourism products, building tourism capabilities and encouraging the involvement of nationals into the tourism sector, and increasing investments in various tourism sectors.

The Ministry of Economy is working, in cooperation with its partners from the concerned federal and local tourism authorities, national airlines, and the World Tourism Organization, to implement the objectives of the strategy. These include raising the UAE’s status to have the best tourism identity in the world, bolstering its position as a leading tourism destination based on tourism diversity by taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the seven emirates of the country, and increasing tourism sector’s contribution to the national GDP to AED 450 billion by 2031. It also aims to attract tourism investments worth AED 100 billion to the UAE while also attracting 40 million hotel guests to enhance the country’s efforts to build an attractive and safe national tourism environment, offer outstanding and comprehensive tourism services, diverse and unique destinations and highly developed tourism infrastructure.

The UAE has successfully maintained its position as one of the 12 top tourism destinations in the world, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The tourism sector currently contributes more than AED 177 billion to the UAE's GDP, and the hotel occupancy rate in the country is among the highest in the world at 72.8 per cent. The number of hotel guests reached 12 million in the first half of 2022 with a 42 per cent growth, and the country also ranked first in the Middle East in the Global Tourism Competitiveness Index 2021.

H.E. Bin Touq added: “The directives of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to launch the third edition of ‘The World’s Coolest Winter’ campaign this year under the theme ‘Our Heritage’ confirms the outstanding success achieved by the first two editions of the campaign in all seven emirates. The campaign became the largest of its kind to highlight the various domestic tourism offerings across the UAE. The campaign is set to contribute more to boosting domestic tourism in the country in the next stage, adding more value to economic diversification efforts and supporting the tourism sector. Besides, it provides a unique experience to visitors based on tourism diversity in a manner that establishes the UAE's position as a vibrant tourism destination.”

The ‘World’s Coolest Winter’ campaign boosted domestic tourism by 36 per cent in 2021, attracting 1.3 million domestic tourists. In its first edition, the campaign achieved remarkable results, generating AED 1.5 billion in revenues in just one month.

Tourism TechGen Hackathon winners

The Ministry of Economy also announced the winning student teams of the ‘Tourism TechGen’ Hackathon. The winners are The Hackers (Roots) team, which came first and consisted of students: Alan Vizirovic, Sana Ali, Maryam Abdullah, Muhammad Hassan. Summa Opus team emerged second and consisted of Amir Ali Khan, Naglaa Al-Suwaidi, Ihsan Abdullah, Maryam Muhammad, Faiza Oeliki, while the third place went to The Breakers (Ecotopia) team, comprised of Lajsin Ihsan, Abdul Rahman Hamid Yarpol Shomutov, Noura Saeed, Maryam Saeed.

The Ministry of Economy intends to launch the second edition of this competition next year in cooperation with its strategic partners to innovate and inspire more successful entrepreneurial ventures, and to provide all enablers and opportunities that enhance the contributions of young generations and students in all tourism-related fields.

Strategic partners of Tourism TechGen program include the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Higher Colleges of Technology, Etihad Airways, ADNEC Group, and Zayed University, which hosted the hackathon on its campus, as well as Plug and Play innovation platform.

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