Arusha — THE Vocational Education and Training Authority in the Northern Zone has introduced short-time courses in Tour Guide.
"For over six years now the VETA college at Mikumi has been offering six-month Tour Guide courses and this is the first time that we are offering a two-week training programme here," said VETA's Northern Zonal Director Mr Angelus Ngonyani. A total of 35 tour guides, most already working in various safari companies in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions have taken part in the maiden short tourism courses offered by VETA in the new training programme package.
The new training programme is being offered by VETA in association of with Tanzania Tour Guides Association (TTGA) which has more than 3,000 members countrywide. Ms Hawa Ramadhan from Kondoa-Irangi cultural tourism programme pointed out that more women should be encouraged to join the men-dominated tour guide profession.
"Because it involves many days of travelling and regular absence from home, something that most women are not exactly prepared to undertake," Ms Ramadhan said. Mr Anorld Makinda said despite its importance, the tour guiding sector has not exactly been commanding the deserved respect; "may be because people used to dismiss us simply as 'drivers' of vehicles that take visitors to parks," he said.
According to Mr Makinda, there is a lot of professionalism involved when a driver-guide takes visitors to the parks and the increasing numbers of tourists in Tanzania attest to that. The Vocational Education and Training Act was enacted by the Parliament in 1994 to guide the vocational education and training (VET) system in Tanzania.
The Act established the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) as an autonomous government agency charged with an overall responsibility of Coordinating, Regulating, Financing, Providing and Promoting vocational education and training.