Tourism Industry Urged To Employ Saudi Women

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, secretary general of the General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (GCTA), has called on local travel and tourism organizations to offer employment to Saudi men and women alike, since the hospitality sector has been opened by the government for women employment. Prince Sultan made this call at the opening ceremony of the new ‘Novotel Riyadh Al-Anoud Hotel’ here Monday night.

The ceremony was attended by members of the royal family and diplomats including Prince Saud bin Fahd, vice president of Al-Anoud Foundation, and Bertrand Besancenot, French ambassador, Gerard Pelisson, co-founder of Accor Group, Gilles Pelisson, chief executive officer of Accord Group, and Yann Calliere, Accor’s chief operating officer.

Dr. Abdelrahman Belgat, Accor’s managing director for Saudi Arabia and Sudan, who is also the general manager for Saudi-French Company for Hotel Management, conducted the program. Jean-Luc Motot, Accor’s managing director for Middle East & Africa, was also present on this occasion, and Reshan Ekanayake, another Accor executive, were also present. The new hotel is another attraction to the skyline of Riyadh city center, offering the best to business and leisure travelers,

Prince Sultan said, “We don’t differentiate between Saudi men and women, when it comes to providing employment.”

“In fact, a number of Saudi girls have been sent to different foreign institutions to be trained in hotel industry,” said the prince, while referring to the growing number of Saudi women working in travel and tourism sector. He also pledged to provide all support to women seeking career in this sector.

Also, a new program organized by the Arab Tourism Organization in cooperation with the American University of Beirut aims to develop human resources in the Kingdom’s tourism and hotel sector. The details are being worked out with the GCTA and the program will start in Feb. 2009. The new program will enable women to participate in the tourism sector in the Kingdom while conforming to Islamic rules and regulations. The program will try to allay certain misconceptions among Saudi families about the tourism sector.

Referring to the facilities offered by the new Novotel Riyadh Al-Anoud Hotel, Accord CEO Pelisson, said, “This new property with 118 Superior Rooms, 26 Deluxe Rooms, seven Junior Suites, 14 Executive Suites and one Royal Suite is ideally situated in the heart of fashionable King Fahd Road.”

The hotel’s striking exterior has brought a new look to the location, which perfectly matches the contemporary and spacious interior with its high ceilings and warm colors, he added.

He pointed out that the hotel boasted a La Croisette Restaurant, one coffee lounge, three meeting rooms, one multipurpose banquet hall, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, Turkish bath, sauna and jacuzzi. Accor executives said that besides this hotel the group will be operating some 10 hotels under different brands in Saudi Arabia by the end of this year.

Seven more properties, they announced, are currently under construction in the Kingdom which will open next year.

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