Workshops call for more women participation in tourism sector

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Time: May 28, 2018

JEDDAH — Women have an integral role in building the tourism sector in Makkah as current developmental activity has opened up plenty of opportunities to enhance the rich tourism experience in the province, stated industry experts at a workshop organized by the Makkah Economic Forum in Jeddah.

The discussions at the workshop have much relevance in view of the significance of tourism in realizing the Saudi Vision 2030 and driving economic growth in the Kingdom. It is expected that the tourism sector will create 1.2 million jobs in the country by 2030.

Maryam Al-Harbi, a female tourist guide, said, “The position of tourist guide was one of the professions prohibited for women before the launch of Vision 2030. But now in the changed situation, an increasing number of women are coming forward to join the sector and apply for a tourist guide license.”

Calling upon Saudi women to contribute to the efforts to revive the tourism sector, Al-Harbi pointed out that currently the ratio of women investors in the sector is still a modest 15 percent. Expressing optimism that this figure will improve, she said women need to be entrusted with senior roles to enhance their contribution to the sector.

Al-Harbi called for more women participation considering the massive shortage of human resources in the sector. She urged universities to set up tourism schools to fill the gap of professional expertise, and commended Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University for announcing plans to open a tourist guide school.

Maria Mahdaly, co-founder of Rumman Company, stressed the importance of increasing public awareness on domestic tourism and the opportunities the sector provides for women. She called for women empowerment through tourism institutes, and urged women to tap into the opportunities available in the sector.

The second workshop highlighted the importance of setting boundaries in interaction with others in work environment.

Dr. Majed Ashy, a psychology consultant, described the common traits of personal boundaries, listing them in three categories: Rigid, Porous and Healthy. Studies show that people with rigid boundaries have negative impact on themselves because they build boundaries between themselves and others, creating isolation. Describing porous boundaries as a combination of rigid and healthy, Dr. Ashy said it is advisable to maintain healthy boundaries because it contributes to building healthy relationships.

Dr. Salma Al-Mofti, psychology consultant, drew attention to the rampant issue of workplace bullying, and explained that it can take place in emotional form as well. She also spoke about bullying in schools and its long-term negative impact on children. The best treatment in instances of bullying is for the victim to muster up strength, find his or her weaknesses and then face the bully, she said.

Dr. Rola Ashour, psychotherapist and founder of Act Center for Psychology Consultation, explained that some people harass others by sending explicit content online or using expressions with improper intentions.

Citing global statistics, she said France has the lowest number of such cases while the US has the highest.

She said the best way to contain harassment at the workplace is by changing the work environment and enforcing strict rules and penalties on violators.

The workshops were held as part of a series of activities lined up by the Makkah Economic Forum across the entire year to involve the private sector as an active partner in the region’s development programs and help realize the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. — SG

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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