World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people

World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people
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Educational curricula need to branch out beyond hospitality skills by making sure that their contents are locally relevant, introduce entrepreneurial mindsets, and enhance the country’s culture, suggests Rizki Handayani, Deputy Minister for Tourism Product and Events at the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. (AN)
World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people
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Christine Böckelmann, Dean of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, said: “Education is very important (and) sustainability, prosperity is very important. My key point is that we have to (create) a connectivity between these three topics.” (AN)
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Updated 27 September 2023
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World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people

World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people
  • Experts and leaders from around the world agreed that investment in talent was crucial to creating a sustainable sector
  • In 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost globally due to the pandemic, many of those being in the tourism and hospitality industry

RIYADH: Global tourism officials meeting in Saudi Arabia have highlighted the importance of investing in people to safeguard the future of the sector.
With the industry getting back on track following the coronavirus pandemic, renewed efforts are being made to promote careers in tourism and hospitality.
Experts and leaders from around the world, gathered in Riyadh for the UN World Tourism Organization’s World Tourism Day, agreed that investment in talent was crucial to creating a sustainable sector.
Speaking on Wednesday during a panel session titled “Investing in Our People,” Indonesia’s deputy minister for tourism product and events at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Rizki Handayani, said: “Human capital development is the most important aspect that plays key roles in the success of sustainable, or green tourism.
“We really need to put our efforts into the development of our human capital, their skill, their knowledge, as well as their capability and entrepreneurship.”
In 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost globally due to the pandemic, many of those being in the tourism and hospitality industry. Saudi Arabia has since managed a return to work for 80 percent of the sector’s employees. But for many, job security fears are holding them back.
Haitham Mattar is managing director for the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia at IHG Hotels and Resorts, the largest operator and employer in Saudi Arabia with more than 18,000 rooms in around 40 hotels.
He said: “It is now a critical task for both the government and private sector to re-instil the confidence in giving employees job security, but also financial certainty.”
While employment in hospitality can offer fast-tracked career opportunities, and international work, many people were now looking for flexibility, work-life balance, and well-being with jobs in areas such as hotels and airlines.
One of the biggest challenges currently being faced by companies was providing education and training for future employees. But CEO of Sommet Education, Benoit-Etienne Domenget, said globally these were not among the key investment areas.
“For too long, our community players of hospitality, tourism, and travel have considered human capital as a commodity,” he added.
Delegates at the session debated the need for expanded education beyond hospitality skills to ensure content was locally relevant and through the encouragement of entrepreneurial mindsets.
Christine Bockelmann, dean of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, said: “From a study in Portugal, we know that 50 percent of all people who have an education in tourism do not subsequently work in this field, so we have a problem with the attractivity of the jobs in this area.
“Education is very important and sustainability, and prosperity is very important. My key point is that we have to create a connectivity between these three topics,” she added.
 


Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day
Updated 22 February 2024
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Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.
 


Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve
Updated 22 February 2024
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Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.
 


Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.


Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors
Updated 22 February 2024
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Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors
  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.


Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines
  • Ministers reviewed latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with his French counterpart Stephane Segournet on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Brazil Faisal Ghulam and Walid Al-Smail, assistant director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, were also present at the meeting.