An inspiring Omani tour guide with a vision to normalize female tour guides in Oman, Wisal Al-Rashdi started her journey three years ago; in 2019, she became certified as a general guide. "I became a tour guide for two reasons, my love for traveling and exploring different cultures but also my curiosity to find out more about what kind of experiences tourists would have if they visit Oman, specifically my foreign friends."
At first, Wisal googled companies that she could contact. Her interest in Oman's tourism market led her to meet new people who encouraged her to become a guide. "When I tried guiding as a freelancer three years ago, I liked it and decided to become a guide. I also found out that there are only a few female guides in Oman; it made me excited to be involved in the market."
When asked about her source of inspiration she replied: "I get my energy and inspiration from those who are out there trying to make a difference and advance our society."
Wisal explained that her first inspiration are her parents; she grew up traveling and exploring Oman with her family. She spent the last six months meeting different people from different communities, backgrounds, and passions, while exploring the sector more which led to her involvement with the online platform Hun'na. "One of the roles that I am most proud of is being a part of HUN'na, a platform that showcases female achievements in adventure and sports. I did not expect to see myself in this field." Due to COVID-19, Wisal decided to start her Instagram page "This.guide," inspiring other females through her content to ask questions and join the guiding industry. When asked about her achievements she said: "I am always looking for ways to enhance whatever I do or look for new ideas or ways in which I can do things differently."
To become a guide in Oman, a person needs to have the characteristics of a guide, such as a friendly personality and good planning, communication, and time management skills. It also requires rich knowledge of Oman’s history, and a license from the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. To acquire this license an online application must be filled followed by people an interview. Wisal talks about this in the interview and mentions details of how to become a certified guide.
Towards the end of the interview Wisal’s message goes out to everyone by saying: "My advice goes out to women who wish to enter the sector and become guides, don't be afraid to explore something new. Go out and try something new and different. Explore the tourism industry, which is beautiful. Hopefully, in the future, our existence as tour guides in the sector will be normalized."