At least 120 tourist guides from the Kigezi Sub region gained tour guiding skills during a one-week training that was conducted in Kabale district at Jophan country hotel.
The training, which ended on Friday, was sponsored by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA) and Kigezi Tourism cluster.
Ida Wadda, the manager legal and cooperate affairs at the Uganda Tourism Board who represented the board’s Chief Executive officer Lilly Ajarova argued the trained tour guides to help the board in identifying bad elements who called themselves guides in Kigezi region yet they were failing the sector.
“Help us, now that you are trained to identify those quack guides such that we can clean this tourism sector. When you help us to identify them, we shall do our job,” he said.
Kigezi sub region, according to the UTB tops the whole of the country in tourism related crimes. Yet again, 60 percent of Uganda’s tourist attractions are found in Kigezi sub region.
Wadda advised guides to teach local people of Uganda how to be hospitable if they are to gain in tourism.
“If I was to ask you the most attracting idea in Uganda you would say maybe its Gorillas, but they are people. Teach the people to be hospitable.”
Wadda called on the guides to be agents of transformation to the communities they live in for the good of the country.
Samora Semakula, the manager quality assurance in the UTB hailed the newly trained tour guides saying they were the only tour guides qualified to deal with tourists in Kigezi because they had been fully trained.
UTB to issue licenses to tour guides
Semakula noted that the tourism board is going to be issuing licenses to all tour guides in the country to be sure of the people that are handling tourists, warning that those without them would be dealt with according to the law.
Before giving out licenses, according to Semakula, the board will be giving out tests and assessments to the tour guides who would be applying for them. They would undergo that trial to prove their competences to the board and the country.
ASP Tinka Emmanuel, the commander of the tourism police in charge of the Kigezi sub region addressing the event said tourist guides are the most stakeholders of the tourism sector in Uganda, arguing them do their work with Uganda at heart.
He threatened to arrest those who were failing the sector in Kigezi, alerting that he had many on the wanted list, mostly in Kisoro district.
He said a quack tour guide had received payment from a tourist a broad and when the said tourist arrived in the country the guide disappeared. He preferred not to mention the name of that quack guide.
“I will arrest you if you fail to do your work. I won’t accept to lose my job because of your failing to execute your work” Tinka was quoted, warning the tour guides to do their work faithfully.
“A tourist can’t pay 600 US dollars and you abandon him or her that way. I will deal with you,” Tinka said.
Herbert Byaruhanga, the secretary general of USAGA who was the lead trainer advised the trained guides to enjoy the good relationship they have with tourism police, but however said police would cooperate with them only if they worked in accordance with the laws.
Diaz Drakes, the executive director of the Home to Gorilla Safris limited who attended the training applauded UTB for the trainings, and was hopeful that Uganda will reach its targeted 4 million tourists by 2020.