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
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
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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.
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
‘’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
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.