While tourism has been one of the economic sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, this period of patience provides ample opportunities for the sector to enhance its competitiveness and prepare itself for receiving large numbers of international visitors again. The Saudi tourism sector can convert this crisis into a chance by upgrading itself with the goal to harness human capital and form a key part of the Kingdom’s knowledge-based economy. There are multiple pathways to establishing what we may call knowledge-based tourism. One way – on which this Commentary focuses – is to enhance the knowledge of the tourism sector’s workforces about their local region through training so that these workforces will be better able to inform visitors.
It is worth examining in this regard the experience of Japan, where individuals’ knowledge about local region is often certified through assessments that aim to improve the capabilities of tourism workforces and increase the knowledge of citizens about the region in which they live. This Commentary will explore these assessments and make policy recommendations for the Kingdom.
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies