Sharjah, 12th April 2010 (WAM) — Tourism is one of the main contributors to the economic growth and domestic product of the emirate in particular, and the UAE in general, and has become, over the last few years, a major contributor to the payment balance and the national income, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), said at a special ceremony held at Sharjah Millennium Hotel to celebrate the completion of the first advanced training for tourist guides, which was organized by the SCTDA.
Al Qassimi said “The completion of the training and licensing of tourist guides in Sharjah is a new accomplishment for the SCTDA, and comes at a time during which Sharjah is witnessing a series of great accomplishments due to the insightful vision of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.” “The initiative from the SCTDA comes as the Authority seeks to enhance the quality of tourism packages on offer to develop the tourism sector and strengthen its competitiveness factor in order to transform tourism in the UAE into a sustainable, stable and strong industry, especially considering the various tourism attractions in the emirate of Sharjah,” he added.
“To this end, the SCTDA has started collaborating with Skyline University College to make the tourist guide training program available to all tourism companies, and the program will become mandatory in the coming period.All tourist guides will be certified by the Authority as the SCTDA will supervise the program to ensure that laws and regulations related to tourism sectors and the relationship between the private and the government sectors, which is based on partnership and transparency, are adhered to. This should provide a kick start for the support of the Sharjah tourism sector and the emirate’s leading tourism packages,” he said.
Launched in 2009 by SCTDA and Skyline University, this initiative is part of a program aimed at the licensing and training of tourist guides, which in turn is aimed at enhancing the performance of the tourism sector and raising the quality of services available to the more than 1.5 million tourists visiting the emirate each year.
Since its launch, the tourist guide training program has seen a large amount of interest from the biggest destination management companies in the UAE, including Arabian Adventures, Orient Tours, Al Khalediah Tourism and the Sharjah National Travel Agency.
On the program’s aims and the results achieved thus far, Al Qassimi said, “The launch of the tourist guide training program in the emirate of Sharjah aims to enhance the performance of tourist guides and prepare them for work in the tourism sectors in the emirate of Sharjah, to ensure that quality standards are on par with regulations applied by the government of Sharjah, and that the level of services on offer to tourists are constantly developed.” “During the first advanced training program, tourist guides were provided with the latest information and updates on the tourism sector in the emirate. In addition, field visits to various important tourism sites in the emirate – including museums, commercial outlets, archaeological sites, etc. – were organized for tourist guides to increase awareness and identification of the Sharjah destination offering as well as the SCTDA’s role in developing and strengthening relationships with all related authorities,” Al Qassimi added.
The first advanced training program for tourist guides ran for 5 days and included a number of theoretical lessons and field visits, conducted by specialized personnel. The focus of the program was to provide tourist guides with the necessary in-depth information about the tourism and commercial attractions of Sharjah in order to enrich the experience of tourists and establish Sharjah’s status as a fast-growing tourism destination.