Last week, it was reported that 760 Saudi Arabian female passport officials were being recruited and trained at the training center of the Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) in Riyadh, Mecca, Medina, and the Eastern Province, “to perform various tasks so as to serve the visitors and pilgrims into the Kingdom. This week, the sector announced more big news, as a top military training official revealed that up to 70 percent of passport control officers based at key Saudi airports could be women by next year.
According to Arab News, Brig. Gen. Dr. Saleh bin Saad Al-Merbaa, director of general administration for training in the passport department, spoke exclusively to the news site, saying, “We are proud to have the largest number of female employees in all ports, land, sea and air, who are qualified and skilled to represent the whole country, not only the passport department. They are the first to welcome visitors to Saudi Arabia and the last to say goodbye.”
“We can’t deny that females have proven themselves in this major compared to their male colleagues. The international airports in Saudi Arabia are going through a major transformation this year and maybe by next year you might even see 70 percent female staff,” he added.
Al-Merbaa detailed the various training phases the female recruits would have to undergo and he also spoke on Saudi Arabia’s focus to boost its tourism sector, explaining that as the Kingdom continues to expand its sector, it will need to employ qualified professionals who can speak “a range of different languages in order to meet the needs of visitors from all around the world.”
He also explained that military training for the soldier-ranked roles is currently optional for women but will be a requirement in the future, saying, “We encourage females to enter military training even though it’s not required. We already have a group that entered the training which took four months in King Fahd Security College’s female training institute.”