TANZANIAS VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AUTHORITY LAUNCHES SHORT GUIDE COURSES
35 tour and drive guides participated in a pilot course for guides devised by VETA in Mikumi last week, which is a radical departure from the previous 6 month courses. The half year studies, while comprehensive and sound in their curriculum, are often too long for guides already working in the field and VETA took comments apparently to heart when they designed a two week course, covering key aspects of guiding but not the whole nine yards of course.
The participants were drawn from the Northern region, famous for the world class national parks and tourist attractions, and came from Arusha, Moshi and the Manyara area.
The Tanzania Tour Guide Association strongly endorsed the course and encouraged members to take advantage of such short period training in the classrooms to advance knowledge and improve skills so as to deliver quality services for tourists. A regular source from the tour guide fraternity in Arusha sent this input earlier today when passing the information: Tour guides were for very long just seen as drivers and a lot of tour companies to only use driver guides with their clients for cost reasons. But those colleagues are what makes a safari. They do not only drive, they check clients in, help with problems at any of the camps or lodges and when they go on gamedrive they find the big game, explain the birds, flora and fauna. They use their experience gained in the field and such courses give them the polish of extra skills like better communication, better special knowledge on certain species, historical background and more. This is what makes a good guide even better and we hope that VETA and other institutions and organizations offer more short courses from which one can in the end graduate with say a certificate or diploma over some time.
On a positive note, across the entire region have guides of late been recognized as an integral part of the tourism industry and the respective associations, the Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association in Nairobi or the Uganda Safari Guide Association in Kampala have been administering training and examinations their members to certify them under clearly regulated standards to promote professionalism, standards and ethics.
Well done to the Tanzanian Vocational Education Authority for their initiative and for accommodating the requests from stakeholders.