By Sami Al-Maghamsi
MADINAH — A Saudi woman, after being certified by the Islamic Studies and Research Center (ISRC), set a milestone by becoming the first woman tourist guide.
Ayesha Khaja said she worked hard to earn a certificate from the ISRC to become the first woman expert on Islamic heritage, which allowed her to register as a tourist guide with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
“I demanded the commission (SCTH) to allow more and more women to become tourist guides. The number of tourists is increasing and tourism seasons are becoming all year round rather than for a few weeks a year,” said Khaja.
She added the commission should organize continuous and regular tourism trips to show tourists the historic and Islamic landmarks in the area.
“Madinah has a rich Islamic history and is one of the most visited cities in the Kingdom.
“There are many women who want to be accredited by the commission to become tourist guides. The commission will benefit greatly by offering women training opportunities,” said Khaja.
She added she worked in the education industry for 14 years before she quit and became a tour guide fulltime.
“I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature but my true passion is working with the cultural heritage of my city. My language skills help me interact with the tourists and show them around. Lately, I have been organizing trips to the Holy Mosques. The trips include visiting some of the historical Islamic sites in the region,” said Khaja.