Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

15 February 2013

Namibia: Ministry Swops Tour Guides for Tourist Guides

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with the Namibia Tourism Board, First National Bank and the British High Commission launched the Tourist Guide Registration information brochure in the capital recently.

Since 2012, a number of targeted workshops were conducted by the Ministry of Environment, Namibia Tourism Board and the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (FENATA) to address bottlenecks in the industry. It was noted that tour guiding is one of the sub-sectors in the tourism industry that is still uncontrolled. Government and stakeholders hence set up guidelines for the registration of tour guides in a consistent and standardised manner as well as design a career path for them. The brochure will thus provide tour guides with the necessary information to effectively guide growth and development in the tour guiding sector, and eventually to become tourist guides.

Speaking at the launch of the brochure, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uaheruka Herunga said an aptitude for languages is a skill most required to be successful in the tour guide industry, as well as an extensive knowledge of animals, plants, weather and history. " You need to have thorough knowledge relating to travelling and tourist destinations, business tactics and social etiquette's. The ability and patience to help and provide hospitality is a must, one should also have an up-to-date knowledge of available facilities and services in the field," Herunga informed.

According to Namibia Tourism Boards Head of Industry Services, Manfred !Gaeb, a total of 77 tourist guides were selected to participate in the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) pilot project. He said the exceptional pace of change in tourism in the country is obliging tour guides to develop new skills. " Namibia has a demographic advantage with a large population of young people, but this advantage can only be realised if opportunities for the youth expand on a massive scale through the medium of education and training in particular the tour guiding sector," !Gaeb emphasised.

The brochures can be obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the British High Commission, FNB Tourist Division as well as the Namibia Tourism Board.

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