The tourism sector is a vital avenue to sustainable development in the UAE and represents one of the priorities of the UAE’s leadership. In it’s strategy and work, the MOE is keen that the UAE becomes a sustainable tourism destination by developing the conventional and specialized provided tourism products, activating the sustainable tourism development plans and increasing the tourism investment opportunities in the UAE in collaboration with the competent local authority as well as upgrading competency of personnel working in government and private tourism sector through advanced training programs that are consistent with the best practices in the world.
In order to meet the Target 9.8 of the SDGs ( By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products) many steps have been taken by the Ministry of Economy in order to promote the sustainable tourism and build capabilities to monitor results and submit reports as follows:
Initiatives of the National Tourism Programme in the Ministry of Economy
The roles of the National Tourism Programme
Initiative: Leadership in Tourism Professions
Tourism Sector Leaders Training Programme annual training programme launched in 2016 and targeting the tourism sector manpower in the UAE. Different themes are selected every year. The third version of the Programme titled “Sustainability in tourism destinations” was launched in April 2019 and was implemented in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and MODUL University Dubai. and it was attended by 30 participants from all tourism entities in the UAE.
Initiative: Policies & Laws in support of Tourism
A law for tourism is currently in progress in the UAE. This consists one of the most important steps imposed by the current situation in order to regulate the work in tourism sector, move towards clear goals and achieve the UAE leadership’s vision to increase the contribution of tourism sector in the national economy towards the post oil economy.
The Ministry of Economy is concerned with the tourism guide file in the UAE and its follow-up, and development in line with the UAE vision, and looks into the improvement consolidation of tourist guide procedures at national level. The main strategic objectives of tourist guide file are to support and regulate the tourist guide profession.
Improve the tourist guide competence, develop tourist guide training in the UAE, enhance communication with tourist guides in the UAE, maintain an updated federal register for them and raise awareness on tourist guide profession by organizing relevant events and forums.
Raising Community Awareness on Tourism
The project of collaboration and coordination with educational organizations to suggest tourism curriculums is considered to be part of the initiative that cares for promoting community awareness on tourism. Meetings have been constantly held with Ministry of Education to incorporate tourism curriculums based on the manuals and guides issued by the National Tourism Programme in the Ministry of Economy (manual of tourism concepts and definitions, green tourism guide). The meetings resulted in the inclusion of the tourism curriculum for grades 4 to 7. Manual of tourism concepts and definitions was also included in the curriculums for grade 4 to 6, whilst green tourism concepts have been included only in grade 7 curriculum.
Tourism can directly or indirectly contribute to achieve SDGs adopted by the world leaders in September 2015 that aim for eliminating poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring gender equality and human wellbeing.
In conjunction with the celebration of World Tourism Day commemorated each year on 27 September, the Ministry of Economy organized a forum titled “Tourism and Jobs: Better Future for All” in collaboration with Culture & Tourism Department in Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Women’s College (Higher Colleges of Technologies).
The objective of this forum is to raise social awareness on the importance of tourism sector and its vital role in supporting the sustainable development goals. World Tourism Day is commemorated with celebrations to raise awareness among the world community on social, cultural, political and economic values of tourism, as directed by the UNWTO.
The forum agenda comprised a number of talks about the current trends and the future development of tourism, a presentation about tourism curriculum in the Higher Colleges of Technology, the contemporary trends of hospitality sector, and tourism in GCCs and the relevant opportunities and challenges.