More Omani women are now becoming tour guides
October 15, 2018 | 3:11 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: More Omani women are now showing a keen interest in working as tourist guides across the Sultanate.

As of June 2018, the number of licensed tourist guides has reached 340. Among them, 232 are Omani tourist guides spread across all the governorates of the Sultanate. The ministry also licensed 83 local guides, according to the data of the tourist guidance department of the Ministry of Tourism.

Oman’s Ministry of Tourism is paying attention to tourist guides as they are partners in implementing plans and strategies to improve the tourism sector.

Rafeeda Al Ruwahiyah, a woman tourist guide, said that the work of tourist guide is full of fun and involves opportunities of exploration and improvement. “There is strong competition among tourist guides to highlight the Sultanate in a beautiful manner. Under this process, I encountered several tourist and heritage sites that are rich with Omani culture and diverse attractive geographic components of the country, which have the potential to be destinations for foreign tourists.”

About the future of tourism guidance, Rafeeda said that this profession is limited only to citizens as they possess vast knowledge and experience on the cultural practices of our country.

When asked if the profession of tourist guides is financially feasible, she said that there were massive financial and material benefits.

Mai bint Salim bin Khalaf Al Kaabiyah, a fourth-year student of the Oman Tourism College who works as a tourist guide, said “I started work as a tourist guide when I was doing my second year in Oman Tourism College and was studying a paper on tourism guidance. I applied to the Ministry of Tourism for license of tourist guide and I got it.”

She said her experience in tourism guidance is fulfilling and fun: “I get the opportunity to meet guests from outside Oman, and this develops the relations between countries. This also provides an opportunity to exchange cultures and learn vocabulary of new languages.”

Mai Al Kaabiyah added that Omani tourist guides would have a brilliant future if they knew French, German and Italian languages as well. The national manpower in the tourism guidance wants more tourists and more women tourist guides in future. This is great source of income for male and female students as they do not have permanent job during their studies.

Fatima Al Balushiah, a tourist guide, shared her experience saying that it was a wonderful work she was doing: "If you do not open your heart to welcome all human beings, you will not be able to become a tourist guide. The most important thing is the confidence and trust which a tourist guide has, in addition to the communication skills, time management, and loyalty to the profession.”

The Ministry is trying to inculcate sense of quality standards in the profession of tourism guidance. It also wants to create awareness among those who work in the area and support them to develop competitive skills at the local level. The ministry also encourages them to abide by quality standards set for better performance and continuous improvement.

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