Women ready for top jobs in SCTH, says Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide

Saudi women are keen to shoulder responsibilities in high-profile jobs. AFP
Updated 26 May 2018

Women ready for top jobs in SCTH, says Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide

  • Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide, Maryam Al-Harbi, who was named as the best tour guide for 2017 by SCTH
  • There was still a need to have more departments at Saudi universities where female students could study archaeology

JEDDAH: A prominent female tour guide has called on the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) to grant women leadership positions as they are now “qualified to shoulder high-profile jobs” within SCTH.
Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide, Maryam Al-Harbi, who was named as the best tour guide for 2017 by SCTH, told Arab News that Saudi women are capable of being appointed to leadership positions.
Al-Harbi was one of two speakers at a workshop held on Thursday night.
The panel discussion was part of the Makkah Economic Forum 2018 activities. The other speaker was Maria Mahdaly, a Saudi entrepreneur.
“It is true that any successful work needs the full collaboration of both genders, but women in Saudi Arabia have shown great interest in learning and developing themselves in the field of archaeology,” said Al-Harbi, who recently obtained an MA degree from King Saud University’s college of tourism and archaeology.
Besides speaking Arabic and English, Al-Harbi also speaks Turkish and is working on improving her Chinese language skills.
She 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 Al-Oula, Madain Saleh, Khaibar, and Badr.
Al-Harbi said that there was still a need to have more departments at Saudi universities where female students could study archaeology.
“We only have one college for archaeology studies at King Saud University. This department offers only MA and Ph.D. degrees,” she said.
She added that students in many universities had not found jobs in the tourism sector so they opted to join other sectors such as education.

Language skills
The workshop discussed the importance of languages for tour guides. Abeer Abu Suleiman, first Saudi woman tour guide and moderator of the gathering, said that a tour guide needed to be acquainted with as many languages as possible, but English was a must as it is so widely spoken.
The gathering discussed Saudi Arabia’s rich traditions and tourism sites and highlighted the country's competence to host hundreds of thousands of visitors. They gave the Hajj season as an example of the Kingdom's ability to host gatherings of people from different cultural backgrounds.


Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

Updated 06 December 2019

Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become a leader in the field of archaeological research in the past five years, a major exhibition in Rome was told.

Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director-general of archaeological research and studies at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said that 44 international archaeological missions had been carried out this year in the Kingdom.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the “Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia Across the Ages” exhibition, which opened at the National Museum of Rome on Nov. 26.

The groundbreaking exhibition was inaugurated by Saudi Minister of Culture Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan and Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini.

Al-Zahrani said that the Kingdom “has become one of the most advanced countries in terms of archaeological disclosures.”

“Recent discoveries by local and international missions have highlighted the Kingdom’s historical status and cultural depth as the cradle of the beginnings of human civilizations,” he said.

Archaeological discoveries continue to “instil the civilized dimension of the Kingdom,” he said.

“The religious, political, economic and cultural stature that Saudi Arabia enjoys is an extension of its long cultural heritage, in addition to its distinctive geographical position as a bridge and hub of cultural interaction between East and West that made it a meeting point for international land and sea trade routes throughout all ages,” he added.