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null Ministry of Economy launches Tourism Hackathon in partnership with Plug and Play Middle East

10 Oct 2022

Ministry of Economy launches Tourism Hackathon in partnership with Plug and Play Middle East



  • E. Bin Touq: “The UAE has made great strides towards the future of tourism through its continuous support and development of the sector – the tourism hackathon is part of the Ministry’s efforts to offer, promote, and support prospects for national hospitality and tourism management students.”
  • Aimed at developing innovative solutions around the tourism industry, the hackathon is open to university students and graduates around the country
  • Tourism hackathon to take place in partnership with various national universities, local tourism authorities, and international organisations
  • Hackathon to feature a series of workshops to help participants develop knowledge and acquire new skills
  • Applications open 10th October and close early November, all applications can be submitted via the link:


ABU DHABI, 10 October 2022:

The UAE Ministry of Economy today announced the launch of a tourism hackathon titled – Tourism TechGen, to be held in partnership with Plug and Play Middle East, one of the the largest innovation enablers in the world.

Set to take place in cooperation with national universities, local tourism authorities and partners of the tourism sector, the hackathon is a training programme and competition aimed at developing innovative solutions around the tourism industry. The hackathon – open to university students and graduates with an interest in the sector – will help participants develop and expand their knowledge of the industry, helping them understand in-depth the role tourism plays in supporting economies around the world. It will also support participants in furthering their education and entrepreneurial skills, focusing on areas such as innovation and creativity, marketing, leadership, as well as supporting the development of their own digital and technological solutions in the field.

Commenting on the launch, H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, stated: “The UAE has made great strides towards the future of tourism through its continuous support and development of the sector – one that is vital and a key driver for promoting sustainable economic growth. Over the recent years, our nation has continued to witness strong and record levels of growth thanks to our well-established comprehensive tourism system. We’re proud that the UAE maintains its regional and international leadership as a distinguished tourism destination.”

His Excellency added: “The tourism hackathon is part of the Ministry’s efforts to offer, promote, and support prospects for national hospitality and tourism management students. Projects like this one contribute towards enhancing innovation and creativity in the growing tourism sector. It also provides opportunities to showcase the favourable business environment the UAE offers to individuals and investors to pursue entrepreneurship in the sector and contribute to national economic growth.”.

“Throughout the duration of this programme, we will work with our local and international partners to train and equip our talent of the future with knowledge and skills including the development of tourism solutions, creativity, and innovation in the sector, and how to launch and run an entrepreneurial venture. We aspire to deliver a multitude of opportunities that can help our students strengthen their contributions to and involvement in this field, in line with the vision and directives of our wise leadership, the objectives of the ‘Principles of the 50’, and the mission to further cement the UAE’s position on the global tourism map.”

H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said: “This partnership is key to enhancing the delivery of our services in a way that keeps pace with the latest technological and digital advancements. It helps fulfill the aspirations of our clients, especially the youth, by engaging them with decision makers and entities related to community development and prosperity.”

He added: “By leveraging the innovative ideas of university students and fresh graduates in this year’s Hackathon and combining them with the Authority’s expertise, we will be able to transform these ideas into sustainable projects in the fields of travel and hospitality. The Authority further aims to develop and hone the skills of the youth and participating students by equipping them with the knowledge needed to turn their ideas into successful projects. This contributes to driving comprehensive development through the digital transformation of various vital sectors in Sharjah and the UAE. Moreover, these efforts serve the vision and directives of our wise leadership to further increase the contributions of the youth, promote innovation, and enrich the national economy by ensuring its sustainability.”

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with the Tourism Hakathon. As one of the fastest growing destinations in the region, this initiative truly captures what Ras Al Khaimah is all about. Agility and being a first mover are values that are firmly entrenched in the emirate and the accelerator culture is not only encouraged but is practiced every day by budding and seasoned entrepreneurs.”

He added: “Working with the theme 'Vision of Tourism in 50 Years', we are able to provide outreach, support and mentorship to students and young adults who will no doubt make an indelible impact on the travel and tourism industry and will foster the next generation of talent in Ras Al Khaimah.”

Saeed Amidi, CEO and Founder of Plug and Play, said,” The hackathon's primary goal is to provide a platform that supports and upskills the UAE youth while also empowering the country's tourism sector in developing innovative services that can strengthen the entire industry. Hackathons provide us with the opportunity to engage with enthusiastic young minds, who are developing solutions that have the potential to become an integral part of the tourism ecosystem.  At Plug and Play Middle East, we will continually nurture and support such events that directly contribute to attracting new talent and providing smart solutions.”

Local and international partners involved in the upcoming tourism hackathon include Zayed University, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Adnec Group, Miral, Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), in addition to many more.

Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, said: “We are delighted to support the Ministry of Economy and Plug and play Middle East in launching the Tourism Hackathon as an important initiative to further progress the tourism industry with the development of innovative solutions. We are excited to play a role in this initiative as part of our commitment to develop and attract talent withing the leisure and entertainment industry. Ongoing collaboration with government entities and private organisations will help us support the government’s vision towards economic diversification through nurturing and upskilling young local talent."

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “As the national airline of the UAE, empowering and elevating the UAE youth is a key driver in creating the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and industry leaders. Etihad is delighted to support the Ministry of Economy’s Tourism Hackathon which will provide students with the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to help shape the growth of the tourism industry. I wish all the students the best of luck and look forward to seeing their ideas come to life.”

The hackathon that will be hosted at Zayed University, will feature a series of workshops that will provide access to established professionals from the tourism sector to help mentor students develop their creative ideas, and transform their prototypes from concept to reality. By the end of the programme, participants will be able to confidently pitch their project to a panel of experts and be in with the chance of winning the hackathon.


The Ministry of Economy invites all university students, graduates and innovate youth to participate in the Tourism TechGen hackathon via the link:

Applications are open from 10th October and will close early November 2022, while the winning teams will be announced mid-November.


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