In Conversation with UNWTO Partner IE University

Diego del Alcázar Benjumea is the Vice President of IE University, Madrid. Here he explains why IE University has partnered with UNWTO and how we can work together to produce a new generation of tourism leaders.

Why did IE University partner with UNWTO?

UNWTO is the leading global institution in the tourism industry and not only for being part of the UN family but for the extraordinary work it has done for nearly half a century to promote tourism development and recognition of the industry's unique ability to create inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Much of UNWTO's success is explained precisely by the emphasis it has placed on the dissemination of knowledge, through research, publications and education about the importance of tourism and its contribution to the prosperity of origin markets and destinations. We also share with UNWTO the mission of contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth through a conscious and entrepreneurial management and the interest in finding new solutions to old challenges through innovation. Finally, UNWTO and IE University are present in almost every country in the world and share a vocation of global impact.

IE University has been involved in tourism leadership education. Why did you decide to join forces with UNWTO to broaden the reach of tourism education?

Technology gives us the chance - for the first time in the history of human kind - to make education accessible to many people who just a few years ago could not even dream of having within their reach the resources that UNWTO IE University Tourism Online Academy is going to make available to them. When UNWTO invited us to find innovative solutions to the challenge of creating educational resources on tourism accessible to all, we understood it as an extraordinary challenge but above all as an opportunity to get even more involved with the sustainable development goals

Based on your experience of other online courses, do you have an estimate of the number of participants this initial phase could count with?

UNWTO IE University Tourism Online Academy will be a fully open platform for -current and future- tourism professionals from all over the world and also for all academic institutions, governments and companies that want to contribute to the development of tourism. We have placed no other limit than the exquisite care of the quality of the programs we are going to offer.