Sunday 29 January 2023

UAE tourism hackathon targets youth for innovative solutions

ABU DHABI, October 10, 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.
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.”
He 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.”
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.  -TradeArabia News Service


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