The training course which was conducted in July comprised of participants representing different departments within the Ministry of Tourism alongside representatives of other stakeholder groups. The course was designed to provide the participants with the knowledge, understanding and techniques for success in delivering tour commentary, interpretation and presentation. The training mainly focused on four historical sites; Fort Barrington, Fort James, Devil’s Bridge and Betty’s Hope; providing the participants with new skills and knowledge of heritage tourism, a fast-growing subsector of the tourism industry.
The Director of Policy and Planning with the Ministry of Tourism and Investment, Mr. St. Clair Soleyn during his brief remarks to the participants said that the Ministry’s vision is to professionalize every aspect of the tourism sector, hence, tour guides now have an opportunity to receive their fair share and capitalize on the industry.
“This is a time in which tourist destinations are re-evaluating their operations in a thrust towards improved sustainability and many recognize that training and education are key pillars in achieving this goal. As such, the Ministry of Tourism and Investment perceives it as important to offer coordinated training to key tourism professional such as tour guides’, Mr. Soleyn continued.
Ms. Tracy Browne, Manager of the Tourism Education, Training and Awareness Unit said it is her hope that each participant recognize their importance as facilitators between cultures as they have the responsibility of sharing our local stories and our historical and contemporary heritage.
“I am pleased that the participants came forward to be a part of the training session and I admired their full engagement during the activities. My tourism colleagues are extremely proud of the training which aided in the professional development of these tour guides. We now have 13 tour guides who are competent and confident ambassadors.”
Lead facilitator and accredited trainer with the World Federation of Tourist Guides Association. Ms. Cleo Henry said the goal of the training was to prepare a cadre of tourist guides who will demonstrate confidence in engaging and positive interactions with visitors as they deliver commentary and interpretation at specified sites in Antigua and Barbuda.
“As trainer and facilitator, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Ministry of Tourism and Investment for the successful planning and implementation of this training course.”
Ms. Henry said during the period of training, the participants were engaged in lectures and presentations by industry experts, practical training exercises and field trips. Participants were assessed through oral, practical and a written exam.
The Ministry of Tourism and Investment wishes to express gratitude to Ms. Henry and her team of presenters, the Department of Environment for availing their facility for the duration of the training and the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board for providing transportation for the field trips.