The Standardization of the Tourist Guides Profession: A big boost for Uganda’s Tourism Sector.
The tourist guiding sector in Uganda has for the last 20 years been struggling due to lack of recognition and standardization. This had left the sector flooded with unqualified and non professional tourist guides who have often delivered poor quality guiding services to tourists and brought unnecessary competition with the professional tourist guides. The private tourism sector through organizations like the Uganda Safari Guides Association, has played a tremendous role in producing quality and professional tourist guides over the past 20 years. Such efforts have come handy in the lobby for standardization of the profession thus leading to the development of the Assessment and Training Packages (ATPs) for tourist guides. This was a combined effort by the private sector in partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). The ATPs set a minimum standards for qualifying and licensing of tourist guides and thus the need to utilize it required that DIT conduct training of trainers and Assessors of tourist guides. In 2021, 20 trainers and 40 assessors were trained and qualified by DIT as human resources that would be required for training and assessing of the tourist guides.
The first assessment of level 1 Tourist Guiding as a move to standardize the profession kicked off on 30th May, 2022 by DIT, a department under the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality Sector Skills Council, with funding from ENABEL at the Uganda Wildlife Education and Conservation Centre. The activity lasted for two days and attracted over 130 tourist guides. The assessment areas were focused on; animal identification, customer care, bird identification, plant identification, Geography of Uganda, General knowledge among others. The main assessment’s purpose was to;
- Test the competence levels of tourist guides in the country.
- Eliminate quack tourist guides to help Improve the quality of guiding services.
DIT stated that there will be continuous subsequent assessments carried out on communicated dates.
It was also stated that tourist guides who pass the assessment will be issued Licenses and registered by UTB as the legal Tourist Guides in the country.
After December 2022, all unlicensed guides will not be allowed to any tourism destinations in Uganda with the assistance from the Uganda tourism police.