(Lto R) Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO, Luis Abinader, President, Dominic Republic and Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, CEO of IE University
UNWTO and IE University continue to build on their shared commitment to nurturing tourism talent and promoting accessible education with the announcement of new scholarships to the UNWTO Online Academy. In line with the Organization’s focus on expanding access to training and skills development, and in close collaboration with IE University, the Government of the Dominican Republic will make 300 scholarships available to students from this leading tourism destination.
The scholarships are funded by the Government of the Dominican Republic and were announced by the country’s President Luis Abinader and Minister of Tourism David Collado, together with UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, and Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, CEO of IE University, during a visit to the IE Tower, the new technological and sustainable campus of IE University in the north of Madrid.
The initiative will allow 100 students of all backgrounds to benefit from a wide range of online courses designed to help them gain the skills they need to either start their careers in tourism or advance in the sector. Courses are available in three languages (English, Spanish and Arabic) and delivered by some of the world’s leading experts, including from UNWTO partner IE University.
Welcoming President Abinader, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili praised his Government’s commitment to tourism, noting that the Dominican Republic was one of the first destinations to re-open its borders, a move that protected many thousands of jobs and helped kickstart economic recovery.
Mr Pololikashvili added: “Everybody should be able to learn the knowledge and the skills they need to work in tourism and be part of our sector’s future. The 300 scholarship holders from the Dominican Republic will help further establish the country as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world – as well as a key ally of UNWTO in the Americas.”
The scholarship program signing event was attended by Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, CEO of IE University, who highlighted “the extraordinary contribution of tourism not only to the economic growth of vacation destinations and source markets, but also to the well-being of everyone.” He added: “the tourism sector will continue to grow strongly after the pandemic and a key element of that growth will be the training of tourism professionals.”
To date, the UNWTO IE University Online Tourism Academy has welcomed almost 15,000 students from 190 countries as education continues to be a core priority of the UNWTO leadership.