The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority has successfully conducted its fifth professional Tourist Guide Training and Licensing Program for tourist guides and aspiring tourism professionals from 2nd – 13th Oct. 2011. The intensive professional tourist guide course has been launched in collaboration with the Sharjah University under a cooperation agreement signed earlier this year. The program is an SCTDA initiative to develop tourism sector and services in the emirate by engaging authorised and skilled tourist guides.
The course is launched by the Authority to enhance skills of tourism professionals and service standards of the industry in the emirate.
The current batch included 12 participants from leading travel and tourism operators in the UAE such as Arabian Adventures, Alpha Tours, TRAVCO, SNTTA, Desert Adventures and Dubai Relax Tours. The participants include professionals from Russia, United States, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Uruguay and the UAE. The course included theoretical and practical lessons, workshops and field trips to main tourism sites around Sharjah emirate.
The SCTDA officials said that the objective of the initiative is to boost and enrich tourism sector with professional expertise. The idea is to train tourist guides on a scientific basis providing them with necessary cultural understanding and insight into the history of Sharjah and the UAE. The course incorporates some new subjects such as the etiquette of handling visitors with special needs and knowledge of first aid techniques.
The course is based on the idea of enhancing the skills of tourist guides and developing their personal skills which help them to learn how to deal with tourists. They are updated on the latest techniques in the training courses under the supervision of experts in the emirate’s cultural, heritage, architectural and economic fields which reflect the emirate’s tourism product. The Authority will provide the graduates with licenses that will allow them to work in the emirate.
The training and licensing of tourist guides is part of the SCTDA strategy to achieve and maintain the highest standards in tourism sector in the emirate. The role of a tourist guide is crucial in promoting tourism. He is the first point of contact with tourists and offers the visitors the first and lasting impression of a place. This is why the SCTDA is keen to provide the best possible training and understanding to tourist guides, said the officials. This will help boost tourism products and services in the emirate and promote tourism development process.
As part of the course, participants visited archaeological and historical sites including Maliha and Jebel Buhais in Al Madam area. Maliha lies from 50 kilometres to the east of Sharjah city and is considered one of the most important historical sites dating back to the 3rd century BC. Jebel Buhais in the middle of the emirate includes 78 Late Stone Age burial grounds and settlements going back to 5th millennium BC and the Bronze and Iron Age. They also visited the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum where they were introduced to plants that grow in the emirate and their medicinal uses and properties.