September 2, 2011
Tour Guides ready for Tourism industry

Persons who received certificates after completing a tour guide course recently will next year be assessed and offered a license.{{more}}

This was disclosed during the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) Tour Guide Certification Ceremony which took place on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, at the National Insurance Service Training Room.

Chief Executive Officer of the SVGTA Glen Beache said that the Authority is hoping to have licensing of Tour Guides by next year. Beache stated that persons will have to go through a training process to make sure that they know the product, as they do the back of their hand. The product being St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a tourist destination.

Calling the occasion a proud day for SVGTA and also for Tourism in SVG, Beache stated that more than anything else, Vincentians need to be educated about the product that is St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He added that at times information given by tour guides may be incorrect. He urged the participants to be mindful of the information they give to visitors.

“If a visitor asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, there’s nothing wrong with saying that you don’t know the answer or you will find out and get back to them,” he said, adding that tour guides may attempt to give an answer that turns out to be false and ends up doing more damage.

Main facilitator Marina Lampkin stated that the SVGTA has made a commitment to reverse an observation recently made which states that visitors were disappointed with the poor quality of the tour guides. In this regard, Lampkin stated that the SVGTA has adopted a Code of Practice for Tour Guiding. Lampkin added that the Tourism Authority, realizing that they needed to perfect the hospitality skills of the tour guides, implemented training. Participants were trained in Tourism Education, Customer Service, History, Marine Training, Tour Guiding and First Aid.

Lampkin added that the reason for offering such a scope of training is to maintain sustainability. She added that the tour guide’s role in forming opinions of visitor’s experience is tremendous as they may be the only local person that visitors may spend time with, chat with or ask questions.

Also making remarks, Afzal Abdool stated that from looking at the Code of Practice for Tour Guides, they will have to be experts on many things, including communication, research, leadership, language, as well as being a good Cultural Ambassador of their country.