As Saudi Arabia
tries to develop its fledgling tourism industry, its also tackling citizen unemployment, which hit a high of nearly 13 percent last year. Hospitality is the latest sector to face stricter Saudization policies, which call for replacing the foreigners who dominate many parts of the private sector -- particularly blue collar and service jobs.
Officials say such policies are necessary to create jobs for Saudis in a country that’s relied heavily on cheaper foreign labour. However, some businesses complain that Saudization increases the cost of hiring and lowers productivity.
The decision will be enforced from an Islamic calendar date likely to correspond with December 29. Many hotels had already begun hiring Saudis to fill front-desk jobs in recent years, part of a gradual cultural shift as Saudis begin to take up jobs that once would have been considered undesirable.