Sara Al Marghalani looks back at her career to date, starting out in the tourism and hospitality industry before Vision 2030 emerged as a driving force for change, and looks ahead to her new role at the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), one in which she is helping to deliver the most ambitious regenerative tourism project in the world
I dreamed of being an academic as a child and chose to pursue my bachelor’s degree in linguistics. After starting to wonder whether the academic life was one that I wanted to pursue, I found myself interviewing for a banquet coordinator position with a local hotel group during their pre-opening of the Elaf hotel in Jeddah. During that time, I did not anticipate how fast-paced and dynamic life would be, working with hotels and the hospitality industry, or how much my life would change during my career in tourism.
Within a few months of beginning my new career, I was promoted to Sales Executive, as a result of my newfound passion in working with the general public and a little hard work. When my direct manager decided to apply for a position in the Maldives as the general manager of a hotel, this hard work and passion paid off once more, as he gave me the opportunity to join him as part of his new team.
When the reality of this incredible opportunity finally sunk in, I gladly accepted. It was then I received notice from the Maldivian government and the Saudi embassy that I would be the first Saudi citizen – male or female – to work in the hospitality industry in the Maldives!
I lived and worked as a guest relations officer on a small island with a respected Maldivian hotels company called Coco Collection for nearly two years. Living and working in the same place seemed to trigger endless opportunities for learning. Later, I was promoted to front officer supervisor in a German hotel company called Seaside Finolhu – Seaside Collection. I spent another eighteen months in this role, soaking up life in the Maldives and continuing to improve my career prospects.
When I introduced myself to the guests at the resorts who were visiting from a myriad of countries worldwide, most reacted with amazement and asked a lot of questions about Saudi Arabia. I told them of the kingdom’s hidden treasures and its natural beauty, as well as its significant potential for tourism. And that was all before Saudi Arabia announced its ambitious Vision 2030 plan to economically diversify into tourism and promote its beautiful destinations. Tourists in the Maldives were eager to know what was hidden in Saudi Arabia and enthusiastic to discover it for themselves.
Today, I am lucky enough to have joined the Red Sea Development Company family. I feel proud to be part of such a great team and very excited to welcome our first guests at the end of 2022. It is a dream to play a part in the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project and support the growth of Saudi tourism.
Find out more about the Red Sea Development Company on the official website.