With the conclusion of the eighth batch of Professional Tourist Guides Licensing and Training Program this week, more than hundred tourist guide professionals have successfully graduated and joined the UAE tourism industry since the pioneering program was introduced by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority in 2009.

This came in an announcement today by the SCTDA and University of Sharjah, which has been conducting the program, following the successful graduation of the eighth batch.  Held from October 7 to 18, this is the third such program this year and included 10 candidates representing different nationalities and working in the leading travel and tourism companies in the UAE.

The 11-day course included both theory lessons and practical training, explaining and emphasising the role of a tourist guide and how he or she could offer the best possible tourism experience to all visiting tourists. As part of the course, the trainees were given a clear understanding of the background and history of various tourist attractions and natural and archaeological and heritage sites.

The aspiring professionals were also given practical lessons and tips on dealing with people with special needs and offering critical first aid in medical emergencies.  Besides, the course included workshops by industry experts and visits to a number of tourist sites, museums and scientific research centers in the emirate.

Field visits included a trip to the ancient city of Maliha, 50 kilometers east of the city of Sharjah, dating back to the third century BC and the famous Jebel Al-Buhais archaeological site, which includes 78 tombs and other rare historical finds dating back to fifth millennium BC, Bronze and Iron Ages and the period before the advent of Islam.

The Sharjah Desert Park, which includes the Natural History Museum and the Botanical Museum, and Arabian Wildlife Centre, which are unique to the region were also part of the itinerary with detailed commentary and backgrounders by experts.

The professional tourist guides licensing and training program is part of the SCTDA strategy to train and license professionals working in the country and strengthen their professional capabilities and competencies.  It is done by enhancing and enriching their knowledge of Sharjah’s and UAE’s history and civilization and educating them about the significance and value of the nation’s collective heritage and cultural and recreational facilities in the emirate with the help of best of faculty and experts in respective fields.

Meanwhile preparations are already underway for the 2013 programs.  The detailed information about the upcoming courses including registration requirements and timetables besides registration forms in English and Arabic will be made available on the SCTDA’s website.