Rise in number of new Omani tour guides
February 26, 2018 | 9:05 PM
by Times News Service
The Ministry of Tourism licensed more than one hundred Omani tour guides in 2017 compared with 41the year before. Photo-Supplied

Muscat: The number of new tour guides in the Sultanate in 2017 more than doubled as compared with 2016.

The Ministry of Tourism granted as many as 109 tourist guide licences in 2017, while the number of new guides granted licence the year before was 41. Tour guides have to undergo interviews and tests to get licences. Meanwhile, as part of Arab Tourism Day and the Day of the Tour Guides celebrations, the ministry honoured the tour guides in the Sultanate.

“The celebration aims at highlighting the importance of practicing tourism guidance, the esteemed role played by these guides, and their active contribution to the Sultanate’s tourism industry, as well as at encouraging those interested and studying in the tourism sector to work in the profession of tourism guidance,” Said bin Harib Al Obaidani, Assistant Director General for Classification and Quality Control of Hotel and Tourism Establishments in the Tourism Ministry, said.

He added: “The year 2017 witnessed a good growth in the number of Omani tour guides. The ministry licenced 109 Omani tour guides in the year, compared with 41 guides in 2016.

“Also, there are 106 guides who speak English, five speak German, three speak French, and one guide speaks Spanish. In addition, 37 guides are authorised in the Dhofar Governorate, three in the Muscat Governorate, and one in the Al Dakhilia Governorate. The ministry also renewed the licences of 46 Omani tour guides in 2017.”

“Facilitating the entry of tourists of various nationalities into the Sultanate through the newly created tourist visa facilities, in coordination with the Royal Oman Police, will undoubtedly contribute to the influx of more tourist groups, which will provide employment opportunities to many Omani guides, who speak different languages that correspond to the expected increase in the number and nationalities of tourists coming to the Sultanate. This undoubtedly calls for doing more to authorise and qualify more guides,” he explained.

Al Obaidani concluded by saying: “In order to facilitate the procedure for applying and renewing licences, an electronic registration system has been developed. Before issuing a licence, interviews by a committee composed of members from various institutions are conducted, so that the abilities of counsellors, in terms of information regarding the extent of the applicant’s knowledge of the basics of practising the profession, as well as the information they have about tourist attractions, are tested.”

Talking about the issue, Al Obaidani said: “The ministry would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all tour guides and operators to continue to provide the highest quality services in the field of tour guidance, in line with the ministry’s overall orientation.”

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