How Saudi Arabia’s academia and industry are closing their ranks to drive hospitality innovation
Dubai: As part of their mission to diversify the national economy from dependence on oil, Saudi authorities are among the young people of the country, especially those who are interested in working in the kingdom’s fast-growing tourism and hospitality sector. Actively encourages entrepreneurship.
To promote this agenda, academic institutions work with the private sector to organize events and activities that help foster a culture of start-ups and develop their own industries.
One example of this partnership is a new collaboration between Effat University and Kerten Hospitality in Saudi Arabia, giving young people the opportunity to participate in mentoring sessions and social coding events that bring together hackathons, computer programmers and other developers to improve or build. The purpose is to provide. We provide new software systems and at the same time support students who want to start their own business.
“As lifestyle, ESG and multipurpose operators, we will continue to focus on supporting local communities and younger generation of hospitality players, which are key areas, and areas of all areas, including employment and skill development. “Promoting local talent and innovation,” Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality, told Arab News. ESG refers to non-financial environmental, social and governance factors and goals that influence a company’s decision making.
“In this regard, we aim to promote initiatives that further strengthen entrepreneurship through the launch and introduction of new business opportunities for students to launch, manage, operate and grow their businesses. “She added.
“Innovation plays a huge role in this impetus because it helps reach the country’s tourism aspirations.”
Saudi Arabia’s Vision for Social Reform and Economic Diversification The 2030 Agenda aims to increase investment in the leisure, hospitality and tourism industries, attracting at least 100 million visitors to the kingdom each year by the end of the decade. I am aiming for that.
Investment in the country’s tourism industry is expected to exceed $ 1 trillion over the next decade. To achieve this, authorities are working to create a favorable investment climate and encourage local entrepreneurs to lead the development of these industries. Kerten Hospitality proposes to share its experience and expertise to support success.
“We are at the beginning of an ecosystem that will enable us to become self-reliant through a connected network of performers and achievers across multiple industries working in the field of hospitality,” said Knippenberg.
“We work together, adapt our know-how to the landscape of the region, and work with entities and organizations heading in the same direction, with the same speed to move and reach 2030 as an accelerator of growth rather than delays. Preparing. Development. “
She believes it is imperative to invest time and resources in the younger generation, who are motivated, full of fresh ideas, and who can get the most out of the kingdom’s long-term growth and prosperity.
In fact, according to a report released in April this year by regional digital marketing firm Global Media Insight, it is estimated that 70% of Saudi Arabia’s population is under the age of 30. As a result, this demographic is expected to be the driving force of the engine. Efforts to achieve the goals of Vision 2030.
“Hospitality exists throughout the tourism sector, and improving human capital skills and focusing on youth is paramount,” said Knippenberg.
“This is where we plan to work with Effat in supporting this drive to get closer to achieving this mission.”
The Kingdom’s hospitality sector is in the formative stage, so such a partnership is needed. Knippenberg hopes to work with Effat to help her company provide young Saudis with the practical experience they need to do steadily.
“That’s why we want to inspire young leaders and minds and contribute to the hospitality space with the expertise gained through our experience with the global team,” she added.
Sarah Hassan, a 23-year-old graduate student at Effat University, pursues a career in logistics and supply chain management in the hospitality industry.
“Saudi Arabia is one of the strongest industries, as the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia is vast thanks to Mecca and Medina, and Muslims from all over the world are traveling to visit Saudi Arabia,” she said. I told the news. “But now it is evolving with Vision 2030 and the country’s will to attract more tourists.”
In Jeddah, where Hassan grew up, the hospitality industry has already played an important role in the local economy.
“The Jeddah season has just begun and many people from all over Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh and Abha, are visiting,” she said.
“The government has allocated all resources to promote this area. I am currently applying for a job and have a master’s degree in supply chain management abroad so that I can bring that knowledge back to Saudi Arabia. I want to get. “
The collaboration between Effat Women’s University and Kelten will provide students with problem-solving skills and entrepreneurial know-how as part of an initiative led by Maria Bouyed, general manager of House Hotel Jeddah Cityyard. Young Saudis are also expected to acquire new skills during their internships and apprenticeships in Jeddah, and their experience will motivate them to pursue a career in the hospitality sector.
Haifa Jamal Arreil, president of Effat Women’s University, said the partnership with Kelten will introduce students to a relatively new job market as the country undergoes extensive economic transformation.
“The entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is undergoing various kinds of changes, from A to Z,” she told Arab News.
“In order to equip students as valuable citizens, we need to be involved in the market early on to know exactly what the requirements are and how we can deal with them at graduation. Hospitality is truly a kingdom. Is the way to go for the future of.
“No one welcomes us without hospitality, as all this is happening in art and culture.”
Many other universities in the kingdom have established similar industry-academia partnerships to bridge the gap in experience.
“It’s about making sure we have a market in the university and vice versa,” Arrail said. “If this kind of interrelationship does not come from top management, it will not be cascaded to different levels of the institution.
“It’s a great help for different faculties and universities to seek and work with the community to show students what new jobs are available and what skills they need.”
Al-Lail says more companies in a variety of disciplines, including the technology sector, will partner with higher education institutions in the Kingdom to benefit from the guidance and experience students can provide, as well as grants and scholarships. He said he hopes to be able to. ..
“This will make a big difference to fill the gap early on as they can really invest in students while they are studying, but they join their industry soon after graduation. I’m ready to do it, “she said.
“It provides employment for our students while giving them sustainability to fill the gap.”
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