The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (MOTAC), has organised a training programme for 120 members of the Tour Guides Association of Ghana (TORGA).
The training programme centred on tour guides’ registration and licencing, and was aimed at streamlining the activities of tour sites and coach guides in order to maintain industry standards.
In an interview, President of the Tour Guides Association of Ghana, Awuku Yirenkyi, noted that: “TORGA has been fighting for the past 17 years to have the GTA licence us so that our businesses in the tourism sector can be legitimised, in order to get the charlatans out and be able to protect what we do. So, there was a need to have retraining and refresher training because over the years things have changed, and the tour guides need to be in tune with current trends”.
The training programme has been segmented into five zones in terms of regions. Greater Accra/Tema form Zone one; Eastern and Volta Region represent zone two; Central and Western Regions are zone three; Zone four and five are represented by Brong Ahafo/Ashanti and Upper West/Upper East/Northern Regions respectively.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Madam Catherine Afeku, noted that the ministry in collaboration with its implementing agency – the Ghana Tourism Authority – is in the process of finalising regulations for Tourist Sites and Attractions.
This, according to her, will go a long way to improve industry standards at these sites and attractions – and thereby, hopefully, lead to an influx of tourists into the country.
“As the 4th-highest foreign exchange earner for the country, the Tourism Industry has potential to boost the nation’s economic fortunes since it has a multi-sectorial approach. The ministry deems it appropriate, as the resource persons for the Training Programme are seasoned professionals in the industry.”
The shared experiences of these professionals and participants will go a long way to equip tour guides with the requisite skills and experiences. Based upon best practices, the course structure dealt with all aspects of the profession to ensure uniformity,” she added.
The training programme, according to a statement read by Isaac Adomako Mensah-Deputy CEO in charge of Finance and Administration of GTA on behalf of the CEO of GTA, Akwasi Agyeman, falls in line with provisions of the Tourism Act, 2011(ACT 817).
According to him, with the development of Tourist sites and attractions regulations, the training programme will help to add and equip guides at the sites and attractions with requisite skills and experience.
“The cooperation between the Ghana Tourism Authority and Tour Guides Association has been the driving factor in the first phase of the training programme. The main objective of the programme is to provide a formal medium to register, train and licence tour guides and discuss related issues,” he added.
Some of the courses treated included Tourism in Focus – Current Trends; Tour Guiding Today; Tourism Enterprises; Tour Guide at Work Role; Function and Ethics; The Tourism Product; Report Writing; Classification of Tour Guides; and Professional Training.