The Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, College of Business Administration, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah celebrated World Tourism Day-2018 in cooperation with Business Confidence Unit, Institute of Research and Consultancy Studies, Makkah by holding a special awareness event in Makkah Mall in the presence of His Excellency, Prof. Dr. Abdullah bin Omar Bafil, President, Umm Al-Qura University (UQU), Dr. Ehsan Al-Moataz, Dean, Faculty of Business Administration, Dr. Ali Al- Shaeri, Dean, Institute of Research & Consultation Studies. Moreover, a group of guests of honor, academicians, businessmen, media representatives and all stakeholders of tourism industry in Saudi Arabia were also present during the event.
The ceremony began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by a speech by Dr. Ali Al Qassim, Head of Department, Tourism and Hotel Management, in which he explained “this celebration is held annually and comes each year with a new theme. The theme of this year is digital tourism and how to use digital applications in various aspects of tourism industry. Focus on tourism has become an important pillar within the vision 2030 of the Kingdom, mentioning the importance of developing the tourism and hospitality sector in order to diversify sources of the Kingdom's income, to encourage investment from private sector and study development plans of many tourist and historical sites in accordance to highest international standards”.
While continuing his talk, Dr. Al Qassimadded “it is necessary to keep abreast of the technological and digital developments that commensurate with developments of the modern era and the transformation of digital information in all aspects of life, including tourism and entertainment,”, He also pointed towards a large number of Saudi and Arab electronic applications that provided self-planning services for your trip and offering fair prices and services, including programs for domestic tourism.
His Excellency Prof. Dr. Abdullah bin Omar Bafil honored the participants at the event along with guests of honor and participating parties, then the event unfolded itself from traditional shows and honoring the winners for the social media contests; “how to be ambassador of your country” in order to mark Saudi National Day 88 and contests for tourism awareness were “the most beautiful picture of a touristic place in the Kingdom” “The best tweet about your village/ town/ province”, and “digital transformation contest”. The competitions, launched on the Twitter account of @cobdth under the Hashtagسياحتنا_رقميه#, in addition to distributing gifts to active participantsfrom on-site community during the event.
During the celebration, short videos and motion-graphics were also presented, including informative content about tourism in the past, its development till today and what we are looking for in the future, as well as a review of statistics around the field of tourism industry and development of the tourism and hospitality sector within the vision of 2030, and reference to the efforts of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage for their collaboration in development process at Tourism and Hospitality industry.
It is worth mentioning here that the awareness campaign on social media about the concept of digital transformation in Tourism industry, in addition to competitions that accompanied it, was supported on Twitter through influential accounts of Knowledge and Engagement group @KEngagement, like [email protected], Self Development @KEtatweir, Education Tips @Kekidscare, Health World @KEHealthWorld, Women World @KEAlMarah, and Motors [email protected] The rate of online views exceeded 11 million views for the Department of Tourism and Hotel management account and 6 million views of the Hashtag سياحتنا_رقمية#. Moreover, the online awareness campaign will be continued with its related contests for a week, after the end of on-site activities of World Tourism Day 2018 in Makkah Mall.