KOTA KINABALU: UNIVERSITI Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has been chosen to set up an international training centre to provide career development for tourist guides from all over the world.
The centre, to be located at the UMS School of Business and Economics, will be the second of its kind after its first facility in Cyprus.
It is due to begin operations in April.
The university had recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Federation of Tourist Guide Association (WFTGA) and Sabah Tourist Guide Association (STGA) to collaborate on the matter.
Its vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah said the tourism industry in Malaysia enjoyed rapid growth and skilled front-line professionals were needed for the industry.
He said the role of tourist guides was important because they act as ambassadors for their countries as well as help to explain the unique culture and heritage of a nation to visitors.
“Tourist guides are often the only local people whom visitors engage with, from the moment of arrival at the airport and for the rest of their visit.”
WFTGA trainers and UMS lecturers will work together in conducting the tourist guide courses.
The international association, which was founded in 1985, seeks to advance the careers of professional tourist guides by ensuring quality standards through a range of training courses.
Tourist guides must be licensed and accredited in their own countries, with each national tourist guide association being a full member of WFTGA, for them to enrol in the courses.
In Malaysia, STGA is one of two tourist guide associations that are full members of WFTGA.
Source : New Straits Times