Saudi Arabia’s first woman tour guide earns a place in history

As part of Vision 2030, tourist and heritage sites will be developed to encourage visitors from around the world.
Updated 06 March 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s first woman tour guide earns a place in history

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide is hoping she can inspire women in the Kingdom to follow in her footsteps.
Maryam Al-Harbi was recently named as best tourist guide for 2017 by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), which praised her work to improve services available to visitors to the Kingdom.
Al-Harbi told Arab News that tour guides have a “major role to play in introducing the country to newcomers. The tour guide is an ambassador who conveys the country’s culture and heritage to tourists and acquires other cultures in return.”
She said her earlier studies in archaeology helped her develop a passion for historical stories and inspired her to become a tour guide.
“The (tour guide) profession at one time was reserved for men in Saudi Arabia, but some women’s delegations wanted to have female guides,” she said. “My university qualifications played a role in increasing demand for tour guides among Saudi women.”
Al-Harbi also has qualifications in tourism from several government agencies.
She is also completing a master’s degree in antiquities at King Saud University through its tourism and archaeology faculty. Next year the university will offer a special tourism degree for women, with a hospitality major through its department of events management.
Al-Harbi said that “besides Arabic and English language, I speak Turkish and now am working on improving my Chinese language skills.”
She now guides visitors to Madinah, including private delegations, school students and university groups, as well as Umrah and Hajj visitors, and helps delegations visiting the provinces of Ola, Madain Saleh, Khyber and Badr.
Her next goal is to lead visitors to the historic town of Diriyah on the northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
“Diriyah tells the real story behind the Kingdom,” she said.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has highlighted the role of tourism and entertainment to help diversify the Kingdom’s income and encourage private investment. As part of the project, tourist and heritage sites will be developed to encourage visitors from around the world.


Saudi Arabian Nazaha’s fight against corruption continues

Nazaha has completed investigations into 59 percent of the complaints, with 4.4 percent referred to the Control and Investigation Board. (SPA)
Updated 10 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi Arabian Nazaha’s fight against corruption continues

  • Nazaha announced the statistics as part of the National Strategy for the Protection of Integrity and Combating Corruption and Vision 2030

JEDDAH: Complaints to the Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission, Nazaha, have risen by 50 percent in a single year amid increasing efforts to combat financial and administrative misconduct in the Kingdom.
Nazaha received 15,591 reports in 2018 compared with 10,402 the previous year, according to statistics released by the commission.
Financial and administrative corruption cases made up the bulk of the reports.
Nazaha has completed investigations into 59 percent of the complaints, with 4.4 percent referred to the Control and Investigation Board and 3.37 percent to the Kingdom’s Presidency of State Security.
The commission’s smartphone app received 29 percent of the reports, followed by the website at 23.6 percent, while 19.2 percent of the complaints were made in person at Nazaha’s branches. AN Jeddah
Nazaha announced the statistics as part of the National Strategy for the Protection of Integrity and Combating Corruption and Vision 2030.