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First Female Tour Guide in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's First Female Tour Guide Was Named the Country's Best

Saudi Arabia has dominated headlines lately, as the country makes move after move proving that progress is imminent.

Since granting women the right to drive, the country has allowed women into sports stadiums for the first time, called for the opening of cinemas for the first time in 35 years, and even started hiring female Uber and Careem drivers.

Just last month, the Kingdom announced that they would be allowing tourist visas to men, as well as to women over the age of 25, and now, women are being hired by the country's General Directorate of Passports.

As women become more full participants in Saudi society, Arab News has announced that the country's first female tour guide was just named the best in the kingdom.

Maryam Al-Harbi was recently named as best tourist guide for 2017 by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), and she's taking the accolade as an opportunity to encourage women in her home country.

Speaking to Arab News, the newly minted 'best tour guide' said that tour guides have a "major role to play in introducing the country to newcomers. The tour guide is an ambassador who conveys the country's culture and heritage to tourists and acquires other cultures in return."

The (tour guide) profession at one time was reserved for men in Saudi Arabia, but some women's delegations wanted to have female guides," she said. "My university qualifications played a role in increasing demand for tour guides among Saudi women.

"The (tour guide) profession at one time was reserved for men in Saudi Arabia, but some women's delegations wanted to have female guides," she said. "My university qualifications played a role in increasing demand for tour guides among Saudi women."

Al Harbi has no plans of slowing down-- this year, she wants to lead people on tours to Diriyah, which is just outside of Riyadh.

"Diriyah tells the real story behind the Kingdom," she said.

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