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Tourism Sector Embrace New Assessment System For Guides

According to Mukyala, the team that reviewed the system emphasized things that are expected of a tourist guide, which include values, attitude, and skills using the knowledge obtained.
Luc Prison ,the Belgium Embassy head of cooperation,and Rose Mary Kobutagi Ag.Director Tourism handing over certificates to Assessors at the launch

Audio 6

The tourism sector has embraced a new assessment system for tourist guides that mainly focuses on attitude, values, and ability to perform as required competencies for the industry.   

The first tour guide was developed in 2006 with funding from the Ugandan government. However, the Acting Deputy Director for the Directorate of Industrial Training –DIT, Ruth Mukyala, says that the system was due for review by 2011.   

She notes that the review was delayed due to a lack of funding until when support came from Enable, a Belgium Development Agency program through the skilling Uganda program in 2018. 

According to Mukyala, the team that reviewed the system emphasized things that are expected of a tourist guide, which include values, attitude, and skills using the knowledge obtained.

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Mukyala explains that working together with all stakeholders such as the private sector, government, and the development partners, they were able to establish that for one to qualify as a competent tourist guide they should know the geography, history, be multilingual especially local languages and familiar with tourist attractions in the country.  

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Herbert Byaruhanga, the chairperson Tourism, and hospitality sector skills council notes that the review was timely as many people have been claiming to be training tourist guides focusing mainly on the theory in the classroom and leaving out site visits. 

 

He notes that there is a huge demand for competent tourist guides, arguing that the training of assessors and establishment of standards will facilitate the training of more assessors.

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Expressing his joy about the initiative, Johnnie Kamugisha, the chairman of Uganda Safari Guides Association, said that the assessment standards will help them to stop the opportunists from messing up the industry. 

According to Kamugisha, tourist guides are ambassadors of the country as they spend more time with the tourists noting that any unprofessional mess damages the whole industry and the country at large.

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He says that prior to the review of the standards, the association has been administering pre-qualification exams to the tourist guides in order to eliminate quacks. 

He notes that they would examine them on how much they know about the tourism sector and the geography of Uganda, client handling, and some history about the tourism attractions among other issues. 

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The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Tom Butime noted that the tourism sector generates more than 7% of the GDP, and the initiative to improve the quality of services in the sector should be embraced for client satisfaction. 

   

‘’I know we are also launching the assessment of tour guides, I encourage everyone to embrace this program which will improve the quality of service delivery and increase our client satisfaction’ ’reads the statement 

On his part, the deputy head of cooperation –Belgium Embassy, Luc Prison, said that they found it necessary to support the program of skilling tourist guides to have skills and knowledge to manage such a crucial sector. 

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Twenty tourist guides, trainers, and assessors were trained under the new assessment system. These will be used to train and assess others across the country.