Saudi Arabia’s Gift to Tourism: The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality

Sunday, October 1, 2023


The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality made its premiere on World Tourism Day (WTD) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The school is co-founded by the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Qiddiya in collaboration with UNWTO. It is to be located at the Kingdom’s entertainment megaproject headquarters, Qiddiya, with an interim facility at Princess Nourah University.

This school is aiming to bridge the global skill shortage in the tourism sector. It is intended to become the first student-centric institute and empower the next generation of tourism and hospitality leaders. The school will amalgamate all the required characteristics of tourism training which will accelerate the future growth of the tourism sector. The school will have state-of-the-art facilities, top-tier faculty, and avant-garde technologies. The school will start its session in Q4 2024 and by 2030 will have a student intake of more than 25,000 per year. It will follow a hybrid curriculum and will offer both academic and vocational education.

A press conference was held where the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, and the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvil stated the various developments that will be undertaken. His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, said: “Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is
Saudi’s gift to the world. Through its pioneering curriculum, which 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”.

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”.

The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations. 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 tourism sector employs almost 12% of the working population. The GDP contribution is expected to reach $9.5 trillion in 2023.

The Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality is indeed Saudi’s gift to the world tourism sector. It is a big step towards bridging the global tourism skills gap and progress of the global tourism sector.

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