MAKKAH: Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi was having a meal at a top restaurant in Geneva last Saturday when he was pleasantly surprised to have a Saudi tourism student working as a waiter serving him, prompting him to post a message on Twitter praising the young man for his initiative and dedication.
Al-Qasabi wrote on his Twitter account: “We are proud of our Saudi youth and (the way they are) excelling everywhere. I have met our son Abdul Rahman Basra, who was sent on a scholarship to study tourism and hospitality in Switzerland, and who is spending his field training in one of the fanciest restaurants in Geneva … The determination of our youth is high to build our dear country.”
Basra, who is from Madinah, told Arab News he was working at Lou One, a Chinese restaurant, as part of his training in Switzerland.
“After I finished my high school in Madinah in 2016, I headed to Canada to study English. Afterwards, I came back to Saudi Arabia and (waited) for a scholarship in tourism which I was always passionate about ...”
He said that because he grew up in Madinah, he had become accustomed to meeting people from around the world. This had inspired him to seek work in the tourism industry. “This passion increased when I was studying in Canada.”
During his time in Canada, Basra said he was constantly meeting people from all corners of the globe. “(E)verybody was enthusiastic about … places they visited except for Saudi Arabia, which made me wish (for) Saudi Arabia (to be considered) an international tourist attraction.”
He said the Kingdom was unique in several ways, including the hospitality of its people, and its rich history. In addition, the country is considered the center of Islam.
When he returned to Saudi Arabia from Canada, he spent nine months waiting for a Tourism Excellence Scholarship from the Ministry of Education. He praised the government for creating these types of opportunities for young people.
Studying tourism in Switzerland has always been Basra’s dream: “It’s where the best and most prestigious universities are located.”
He said he studies at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, the third most prestigious university in the world in the field of tourism and hospitality. It is part of the institution’s requirements to have students work as waiters, he said.
It has been difficult studying in Switzerland because the hotels require French proficiency. However, he was fortunate that waiters, unlike chefs, were not required to speak the language.
He said that Qasabi had been quite pleased to hear that he was a Saudi undergoing training in Geneva.
“The Chinese restaurant Lou One is one of the best … in Geneva … When he asked me about my nationality, I saw a smile, and he began to motivate and advise me. He appreciated and admired my work.”
Basra said he plans to return to Saudi Arabia to help build the tourism industry.