The Community College at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University is Keeping up with the National Trend Towards the Development of the Tourism Sector

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Tourism plays a significant role in the economies of advanced and developing countries. According to the World Tourism Organization, the demand for tourism has a record number of tourists and expenses value during 2017. The organization’s statistics indicates that Africa and Europe are ranked the first and second internationally as tourists destinations with 9% and 8% average of growth. While the Middle East was ranked the fourth destination with a growth rate of 5%, which is considered an eligible average to rise in the coming years.

The specialists in the Organization consider tourism as a key driver of the economy of most countries. In addition, it is a major source in job opportunities and economic diversification that contributes in the improvement of millions of lives around the world. Among the recommendations made by the Organization to the developing countries, which have viability in the tourism sector, is to speed up the reform and support the sector with the necessary legislations, competencies and infrastructures to maximise the social and economic benefits.

In order to vary the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and reduce the dependence on oil revenues, the Government has tended to develop the tourism sector and invest the natural and cultural properties, human competencies, and the high-level infrastructure of the Kingdom. This investment aims to increase the returns of the tourism sector to contribute it in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is considered also a reflection of Saudi Vision 2030, which includes strategic objectives to establish and develop tourism destinations, sites and islands. In addition, it includes the programming of events and festivals, and the development of host facilities and tourism services with international standards in partnership with local and international investors.

For its part, Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University, represented by the Community College, had a vision within the Saudi Vision 2030 that aims to contribute in achieving the qualitative shift of Saudi economy. Its vision lies on the development of Saudi competencies through the establishment of some Diploma programs as Hospitality and Hostelry. This program will provide the tourism sector with specialists who have a high level of knowledge and professionalism in this particular field. It will combine, as well, theoretical education and hands-on practical training that lasts for a four-semester training course in three different academic majors: Hospitality Management, Art of Culinary and Facilities Management. This program will enhance the economic role of Saudi women and enable them to compete in the labour market for the permanent and various career opportunities, which used to be exclusively for men.

According to the expectations of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the tourism sector will be able to provide more than two million jobs, directly and indirectly, during the next four years. The World Travel and Tourism Council expects as well the contribution of the Saudi tourism sector to GDP to reach 250 billion riyals by 2026. All these indicators suggest that the tourism sector will represent, in the coming years, a large store of a specialized and skilled workforce.

The Hospitality and Hotel Diploma at the Community College will enable women to develop their scientific and professional skills to be an active element in the hospitality industry. It will provide them with jobs where they can invest all of their energies and creativity in the management of hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities; and organization of conferences, cultural events and other related works.