The tenth Professional Tourist Guide Licensing and Training Program has been successfully completed by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority in collaboration with the University of Sharjah. The course included both theory lectures, workshops, practical training and field visits.
This group of the Tourist Guide program included 13 professionals from 11 different nationalities already working in the tourism industry in the Emirate.
The unique tourist guide course offered by the SCTDA and Sharjah University involved lectures being held across the emirate at prominent landmarks, cultural centers and tourist attractions, notably the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Heart of Sharjah area, Sharjah Maritime Museum, and Sharjah Aquarium, Sharjah Archaeological Museum, Sharjah Desert Park and Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.
The lectures and walking tours of these Sharjah landmarks covered the history of the Emirate as well as its tourism, cultural and economic profile and parameters.
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority praised the success of the Tourist Guide Licensing and Training Program initiative which encourages both experienced and amateur tourist guides in the country to learn the basics of the trade, concepts and trends of the industry as well as the history of Sharjah and the UAE, its heritage and culture etc. At the end of the course, the trainees ‘graduate’ with a license to work as a tourist guide in the country on passing an exam. The license is now mandatory to practice tour guiding in the Emirate.
Al Midfa said, “The Authority is working with specialists and industry experts to develop and improve this course year on year in accordance with highest global standards. All the professionals undertaking the tourist guide program agreed on the significance and relevance of the course, which covers the history, culture and tourism aspects of the Sharjah experience in great detail.”
Sharing her experience about the course, Ms Nathalie van de Vrede of France, who has been working as a tourist guide in the UAE for the past 3 years, said that she liked the whole program, the knowledge provided through lectures about heritage, history of the emirate and the UAE as well as the latest trends and developments in the tourism industry. It offered an authentic and wholesome experience, she added.
For her part, Ms Ananda Shakespeare from the United Kingdom, talked of her interest and fascination for Sharjah developed further by the course. She said, “Sharjah has been witnessing major development in the tourism industry, which is reflected in the course material and the skills of the experts who supervised them. The well put together content by the SCTDA is taught by experts in their fields and is useful to all guides. Sharjah has many interesting tourism projects in the pipeline and the course details these as well as going over the emirate’s rich history, culture and heritage. Interestingly, the course also includes a module about ‘guiding visitors with special needs.”
Ms Yukiko Takahashi, who comes from Japan, said, “Her participation in the Sharjah tourist guide course has been a great opportunity to experience Emirati culture first hand and interact with experts and specialists with rich experience in the field.” This has helped enrich her knowledge and understanding of Sharjah and the UAE, she said. “Now I can relate well to things, art and culture made in Sharjah. Now I feel the place is closer to me!” she added.
Ms Takashi referred to the diverse areas covered in the course such as arts, culture, history and heritage. She noted the importance and diversity of Sharjah’s numerous museums that are rich in Islamic history and the natural physical diversity of the emirate. This is what makes it a leading tourist destination in the region and puts it among the top destinations of the world, she emphasised.
Ms Takashi, said, “Sharjah is worth visiting for international visitors to know the history and culture of UAE. As a manager of a Japanese division in a company, and not just as a tourist guide, I am now looking forward to offering the Sharjah experience to people back home in Japan.”
All information and details about the Professional Tourist Guide Licensing and Training Program have been made available on the SCTDA website and are updated from time to time. The guidelines about the registration requirement for the course, duration and timeline in addition to registration form in Arabic and English are also available on the SCTDA website.