King Abdulaziz University opens the first Institute of Tourism in Saudi Arabia
Under the patronage of, Prince Mishaal bin Majed bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Jeddah, King Abdulaziz University launched its Institute of Tourism.
Classes in the Institute of Tourism started in the second semester of this year, where a group of academics and instructors from top hotels operating in Saudi Arabia provides academic and practical lessons to 14 students.
Study at the Institute focuses on the practical side so that graduates will achieve academic excellence and professional competence necessary to land them in high-paying jobs in the sector.
After a tour of the Institute’s premises, Prince Mishaal was impressed about the facilities, saying: "Our confidence in the Saudi youths is significant."
He also commended the relations between King Abdulaziz University and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne - Switzerland, which is considered as the first institute in the world in this field and is the academic and technical partner for the Institute.
Dr. Osama Sadiq Tayeb, President of the University, expressed thanks and appreciation to HRH Prince Mishaal for patronizing the opening ceremony of Institute of Tourism.
He pointed out that the idea of establishing the Institute’s started from the keen interest in tourism by the Saudi government, adding that tourism has become a universal language between different cultures throughout the world and a key to all positive opening on the others.
Moreover, he said tourism is considered as a channel for dialogue among cultures and religions, initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, in order to bridge the gap between religions and serve as a key factor for global tolerance, peace and security.
Dr. Tayeb further said the University's efforts were consistent with the efforts of foreign and international experiences to ensure that the Tourism Institute will achieve its objectives, vision and mission.
Dr. Zuhair bin Abdullah Al-Tayeb, Dean of the Tourism Institute, assured that the Institute will seek, through its well-oriented programs, to prepare and present practical, academic and training programs that keep pace with the latest academic trends in both specialties (Travel and Tourism) and (Hotels and Hospitality), as well as the preparation of well-qualified graduates.
The Institute will contribute to raise awareness about tourism in the community, in addition to Saudization of tourism jobs, through induction programs about the Institute, and through meetings and exhibitions that encourage and promote tourism, as well as participation in tourism events locally and abroad, he averred.
Further, the Institute will enhance relationships with international private and public sectors that serve the graduates, as well as enter into agreements and workshops to keep pace with the advancement and development in the industry that would better serve the academic and professional accreditation of the Institute in line with the University strategic plan.
Al-Tayeb further explained that the establishment of the Institute was based on the a qualitative leap in tourism sector in Saudi Arabia and the government realization of the importance of tourism as an industry sector that contributes to the economic development of the country on several levels, mainly creating more job opportunities for citizens.
He cited the statistics of the General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities this year that indicate that direct and indirect job opportunities were forecast to reach about 974,000 thousand jobs, noting that this figure is pushing for more interest in this area.
He revealed that the Institute signed an agreement with “Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, which supervised the Institute’s academic and training programs, adding that the university would not hesitate to contract anyone it considers will contribute to the upgrading of level of Institute or any sector of the university.
For his part, Mr. Pierre Haerod, consultant at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, was inspired with awe by the standard of King Abdulaziz University. He said the University provides a scientific environment suitable for students and faculty members, trainers and staff, and extolled the University as unique with its level of cooperation with global scientific educational entities.
He added that KAU’s Institute of Tourism is comparable to major global institutes, and hope to see it further developed and prosper over the coming years.