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First tourism forumAcademics gathering at King Saud University on for the first Forum for Tourism and Antiquities Faculties have heard how the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia is leading the way in creating jobs for the people of the nation.

With 26 percent of the total amount of workers in the sector Saudi citizens the tourism industry now employs the second highest number of native Saudis out of any sector in the nation.

King Saud UniversityThe head of the Saudi Commissioner for Tourism and Antiquities His Royal Highness, Prince Sultan bin Salman, said he was proud of the amount of Saudis working in the sector.

“Today, we are proud the national tourism industry is considered the second sector with the highest percentage of Saudization in the national economy,” Prince Sultan bin Salman said.

“It is not enough to talk about the production of work opportunities today, which we present on a golden platter to non-citizens.”

“And it is not enough to support different economies in the Kingdom and promise job opportunities, when they are actually probably occupied by non-citizens.”

Prince Sultan bin Salman confirmed the tourism and traveling sector is one of the biggest sectors to produce job opportunities and one of the biggest and most basic engines for development.

In his role as the head of the Advisory Committee of the Faculty of Tourism and Antiquities at  KSU His Royal Highness reasserted the job of the faculty of tourism  in preparing a “generation of (national) hospitality,” working with great professionalism and conviction.

“The Saudi citizen has known, throughout his history, that he is a hospitable person and that he is serious at work,” Prince Sultan bin Salman said.

His Royal Highness emphasised jobs of importance as guides, hotel services and  accommodation roles, in addition to jobs at archaeological sites, museums, architectural heritage sites as well as with companies involved in travel and tourism.

King Saud UniversityThe Commission for Tourism has worked to set professional standards and prepare training packages for all occupations in various sectors of tourism and ones related to the tourism.

Standards have been set for the booking and tickets, tourism program design, customer service, tourism guides, air freight, accounting for travel agencies, hotel reception, cooking service, room and food service.

This work was done in collaboration with partners from the public and private sectors and Human Resources Development Fund to prepare the infrastructure for education and training in tourism.

Now the commission seeks to hand over its management role to regional areas enabling them to launch tourism on a local level.

“We have achieved 85 percent of this project in complete cooperation with the Princes of the areas , the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Interior and investors in the areas,” Prince Sultan bin Salman said.

“We expect that, with the growth of tourism in these areas from the establishment of local tourism organizations, new job opportunities will open up, with the regions administration more focused on local activities.”

“The trend towards local administration in these areas is considered a strategic direction of the state.”

His Royal Highness also invited the deans of the faculties of tourism and antiquities and the training and tourism education officials in the Kingdom to cooperate to raise the level of education and training in the field of tourism in the Kingdom.

KSU Rector Badran Al-OmarThe rector of the KSU Professor Badran Al-Omar, confirmed Saudi Arabia, with its rich heritage and variety of tourism patterns, is considered one of the most important areas for tourism in the region and development must be steady, while stressing the role education.

“This requires the coordination of efforts in the presentation of of academic programs that are theoretical and practical to keep up with the latest academic trends in the field of tourism management in all its branches,” Professor Al-Omar said.

During its session, the forum explored a number of  topics related to professional standards and training facts, and tourism careers, classification and job description, and attraction of graduates.

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