Hospitality training and its impact on the national economy

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The Saudi tourism sector is driving the Saudi economy by default, as many strategic goals within Saudi Vision 2030 are dedicated to tourism. In any industry, the glory begins with education and training. Training plays a major role in creating a solid base for this industry. Without training, this industry will fall very soon.

You cannot train an individual to become a tourist host in a day. If you want to experience firsthand the importance of training, visit a hotel and have a cup of coffee. Do you sense a high level of hospitality? Do you feel that hotel employees are setting standards and measuring customer satisfaction? Can you see the possible solutions when customers complain?

To answer all of the above questions, we need years of learning and experience. What if we were to change the tourist experience? The tourist experience begins from the time a tourist arrives at the airport until the moment that he or she leaves the country. The tourist should have a positive experience throughout. The positive experience or bad experience will then enable tourists to make a decision as to whether or not they will ever return.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s most desirable destination for Muslims to visit. The holy cities of Makkah and Madinah are an advantage that we can benefit from if handled correctly and wisely. However, it must be said that hosting more than 30 million pilgrims a year is not easy.

In some countries, you need to study certain courses for months or years and then pass an exam to qualify to work with tourists. In Saudi Arabia, this training is at a lower level. Students only go into tourism as a last resort. There is little passion for the profession. From my own experience, I believe that there are three important factors in creating such passion: family, society and media. These three factors need to work together to increase awareness and acceptance.

Furthermore, we need to create an updated and customized curriculum that is suitable for our unique culture. Moreover, vocational training is more important than theory as this field is practical and similar to medicine and engineering. It is clear that Saudis who work with tourists indirectly impact Saudi Arabia’s economy. The return on investment is high and we need to give it better attention.

Sarah Gasim,

Jeddah


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