USAGA’s project ‘EAC Youth Tour Guides Network’ is about linking young aspiring tourist guides in Kenya and Uganda through an online portal to professional guides and associations, with the aim of enhancing their skills and ensuring a sustainable tourism sector in the future. One of the key outputs is helping guides to create touristic itineraries which can be marketed across the region. Women, who historically have not been well represented in the tour guiding industry, are especially encouraged to participate.
The project has developed an online platform for training and equipping young tour guides along the tourism-rich areas of Uganda and Kenya with skills and professionalism to manage and guide tourists and to provide market access and information for the tourism industry and guides to both local and international tourists and the potential tourist guides employers.
In the first few months after its commencement, the project conducted orientation meetings and awareness raising workshops for stakeholders, conducted a baseline survey on youth to be recruited and trained as tourist guides, organized a workshop with the Uganda guides associations to recruit the youth for the project, developed promotional material for project promotion and marketing, and participated in the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo and other events.
As a result, the project identified and recruited 120 youths (23 women and 97 men) in Uganda and Kenya, developed a raw system prototype for the online platform and brought on board relevant stakeholders and active partners such Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Tourism Association, Ministry of Tourism, Tour Guides and Drivers Association Kenya, and the Uganda and Kenya Women Birders Association.
Although the project was seriously affected by the Covid-19 crisis and lock down in Uganda and Kenya, it continued business at a lower scale through facilitating online meetings. As the aviation industry in the region slowly picks up business again, USAGA is hopeful that tourists will return to the region and enjoy visiting again, maybe under slightly different conditions as the Safari industry is also adapting to the ‘New Normal.
USAGA has now launched the EAC Youth Tourist Guides Platform (www.touristguidesportal.com). The platform is helping to market the skills of 106 professionally trained East African tourist guides and 40 of East Africa’s richest tourist destinations to both local and international tourists and tourist guide employers. We encourage more tour guide associations to enrol with the platform and on a high note encourage more women to take over the tour guiding profession.
Training will not only enhance the capacity of the guides to ensure that tourists visiting the EAC region are offered a high and consistent level of quality tourism services, but will also increase the trust among regional tour operators offering joint tour packages and encourage more cross border delivery of tourism services.
With continued collaboration among the different tour associations in East Africa and bodies/ ministries in charge of tourism, the portal will, with no doubt be the number one platform in marketing East Africa as the preferred single tourism destination.
For more information, reach out to http://touristguidesportal.com/