GTA begins registration and training of tour guides

Madam Bella Ahu (fifth from left) with the tour guides after the training.Photo.

Madam Bella Ahu (fifth from left) with the tour guides after the training.Photo.

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has begun processes towards licensing tour guides across the country as part of efforts to improve standards in the tourism industry.

It has thus begun a nationwide registration and training of tour guides to streamline their activities and flush out ‘charlatans’ in the sector.

At a closing ceremony of a three-day refresher course for tour guides in the Greater Accra Region last Friday, the GTA explained that the country had been segmented into five zones to provide a formal medium to register and licence practitioners to maintain industry standards.

About 120 participants who were trained on emerging trends in the sector were awarded certificates at the end of the programme.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GTA, Isaac Adomako-Mensah, in highlighting the importance of tour guides in making Ghana a preferred choice for tourism, described them as “the epitome of the sector.”

“You explain our stories, festivals, cuisines, attractions and everything that identify us as Ghanaians better to tourists and it’s important that you are well equipped to carry out that mandate,” he added.

Alarmed at the spate at which ‘miscreants’ had taken over the role of professional tour guides, thereby exploiting ignorant tourists, Mr Adomako-Mensah explained that the GTA was taking the initiative to license practitioners to ensure that such trends were curtailed.

Tourism Minister, Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, in a speech read on her behalf said, the Ministry was finalising regulations for tourist sites and attractions in the country, explain that “This will obviously go a long way to improve industry standards at these sites and attractions and thereby lead to the influx of tourists into the country.”

The minister who reiterated the prospects of the tourism industry in boosting the country’s economic fortunes, indicated that the ministry together with its implementing agencies would not relent in equipping industry players with the needed skills and knowledge acquisition.

“As the fourth foreign exchange earner for the country, the tourism industry has the potential to boost the economic fortunes of the nation, since it has a multi-sectorial approach. We are, therefore, in full support of any form of industry training for professionals in the sector to improve the standards and quality of service delivered to patrons and the general public at large,” she maintained.

Mr Awuku Yirenkyi, president of Tour Guides Association of Ghana (TORGAG) on his part noted that the timing of a refresher training programme leading towards the licensing of members was apt.

“We have since the birth of TORGAG not ceased dialoguing for licensing to be issued to us and the decision of the GTA to take the matter up is historic,” he said, adding that, the move would not only guarantee professionalism in the sector, but ensure the safety and security of tourists while accruing the needed revenue for economic development.

By Abigail Annoh and David Takyi

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