Walvis Bay — Tourist guides operating in Namibia convened at the coast to discuss challenges and changes that will lead to the formalisation of the subsector in the tourism industry.
The workshop is expected to come up with a regulatory framework after a series of consultations as well as look at issues such as training and skills transfer.
The director of tourism and gaming Sebulon Chicalu, during an interview at the workshop, said the importance of tour guides makes it essential for them to operate in a formalised manner.
According to him, a formalised industry will be able to promote and maintain a high level of professionalism, quality, and safety while at the same time providing a clear and consistent level of service for tourists, thereby boosting confidence in the industry and ultimately driving growth and development.
He said there are over 500 tour guides registered, according to the recently launched National Tourist Guide Registration Database for the local tourism industry.
Hence, he said, the subsector wanted to engage each other along with institutions spearheading training and functions of tour guides.
He said the overall aim is to develop a national framework for the registration and accreditation of tour guides that would enable players to understand the gaps both in training and accreditation framework.
"It is with this type of engagement that we will be able to identify the needs and guiding tools. Thereafter, a draft national tourist guide document will be drafted as well as a code of conduct," he explained.
He added that the draft document will then be submitted and all procedures followed so that it is regulated and enforced.
According to statistics provided by the tourism ministry's statistician Nicodemus Amon, Namibian young people between 18 and 24 years of age are almost non-existent in the subsector.
They only represent 0.6% of registered tour guides in the country. At least 57% of tour guides are between the ages of 25 and 54, while 55 years and above represent 25.7% of the sector.
A total of 88 registered tour guides are male with only 12% of women registered in the sector.