15 February 2013

Namibia: Guidelines for Tour Guides Now Available

Windhoek — The information brochure that sets out clear guiding definitions and establishes a formal career path for tour guides, was launched in Windhoek this week.

The Tourist Guide Registration Information Brochure is expected to tackle the country's tourist guiding profession, which is effectively still an uncontrolled sub-sector in the tourism industry.

The government and the industry set up guidelines for the registration of tour guides in a consistent and standardised manner as well as designed a path for them. The aim is to advance a growth in capacity and ensure a pleasurable experience for guests. "Let us adopt the career path as a matter of policy and let us align our training and the related expenses to this career path as this will give a clear and fair chance to all those Namibians who would like to make a career as tour guides in Namibia, as well as those already in the sector," said the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga, when launching the document.

The minister also applauded the working relationship between the sector and government, pointing at the country's successful bid to host the Adventure Travel Summit. "It also tells me we can climb greater heights to become the No.1 destination in Africa! Let us maintain the spirit as, united we stand, divided we fall," he added.

The brochure is a collaboration between the Directorate of Tourism, the British High Commission and the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).

British High Commissioner to Namibia, Marianne Young, is certain that the information brochure will help give tour guides and the wider market greater clarity and confidence to operate in the sector, especially British tourists. About 27 000 British nationals visited Namibia in 2011, accounting for the second largest number of non-African visitors after the Germans.

"We are waiting for the 2012 figures but after hearing reports from friends in the travel industry their phones haven't stopped ringing with inquiries for holidays in Namibia by excited Brits, who saw the first episode of Sir David Attenborough's new Africa Series on the BBC set in Namibia," Young related.

She is confident that the number of British tourists will grow after that broadcast.

The NTB's Manfred !Gaeb said the exceptional pace of change in tourism in the country is obliging tour guides to develop new skills. According to !Gaeb, opportunities and risks in today's open business environment require new approaches to strategy and implementation.

"Rapid growth, new markets and ever-changing consumer trends all impose unprecedented challenges. To meet these demands, novel solutions and techniques are needed to financing, human capital technologies and marketing," he said.

The British High Commission also secured funding for the African Monarch Training School Field Guides, which was presented to the school's director, during the launch.

African Monarch is to become the first officially accredited field guide training school in Namibia and to successfully train and certify Namibian students. The school works in conjunction with the Hospitality Association of Namibia under approval from the Namibia Qualifications Authority, as well as the Namibia Training Authority.

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