DOHA: Fifteen trainees have completed the pilot Tour Guide Licence Programme launched by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) late last year.
“We are proud of our first graduating tour guides. Tour guides are a key touch point on the frontline of tourists’ experience of Qatar. With Qatar’s growing tourism industry, it is crucial that we show tourists the beautiful reality of this country,” said QTA Chairman, Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, at a graduation ceremony at the QTA headquarters.
Twenty-one trainees joined the programme last December and 15 completed 16-week training at Stenden University Qatar (SUQ).
They will immediately start their careers in the tourism and promotions with QTA.
“This is a great milestone for QTA and the Human Resources Department, and underscores our commitment to ensure that we have the best qualified employees,” said Al Mohannadi.
QTA Human Resources Manager, Omar Al Jaber, said the licensed guides may be deployed in three areas where QTA will have tour guide centres — new Hamad International Airport, new Doha Port and Abu Samra.
“At Hamad International Airport, we will have a desk in the Arrivals area to guide tourists on various places to visit,” said Al Jaber. The guides, he said, also have opportunities in the private sector such as tourism companies and hotels.
The programme aims to provide comprehensive training to aspiring tour guides in areas, including the history of Qatar, knowledge of local tourist attractions, general tourism information, tour-guide essentials and the development of interpersonal skills and competencies in delivering information in engaging ways.
It is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed between QTA and SUQ last year to develop a special curriculum to train professional tour guides.
“The government sector, private enterprises and civil society must work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of our National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. We need to continue developing the human capital necessary for a sustainable tourism sector by encouraging participation from the Qatari youth,” said Al Mohannadi.
Mona Hussain, a graduate, thanked QTA and SUQ for providing her and the rest of the graduates with a very good opportunity to earn Tour Guide certificate.
“We have been provided with a very strong course in English language and Tour Guiding and to learn more about Qatar. I discovered a lot of places in Qatar I did not know,” she said.
“We took up many topics related to tourism, how to develop it, how to receive people, how to increase the number of tourists and where to take them, based on their interests such as heritage places,” said Samer Mohammad, another graduate.
He expressed keenness to promote Qatar, especially to tourists visiting the country for the first time, by providing them with vital information on what they can do and places they can visit.
The programme is open to Qatari and Qatar-born high school graduates familiar with the country’s history and culture and having fluency communicating in English and Arabic.
Applications and screening for the second batch start after Ramadan, said Al Jaber.