Lack of tour guides hampers BD’s tourism promotion

DHAKA : Though the government wants to make the economy stronger through a vibrant tourism sector, little attention has so far been given to creating qualified tour guides, which is considered essential to promote tourism, reports UNB.
Industry insiders have identified the absence of thoroughly knowledgeable, trained and qualified tour guides as the number one ‘crisis’ in Bangladesh which needs the government’s urgent attention.
“The biggest crisis right now is the lack of experienced and qualified tourist guides,” Taufiq Rahman, Director of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), told UNB.
Rahman, also the founder Chief Executive of Journey Plus, said the country does not have any government-approved tourist guide and the government agencies must take it seriously.
“We’re already far behind. The government needs to take up the responsibility. We can only provide jobs if we get qualified guides,” he said.
Another tour operator and TOAB Director (Training & Research) M Masud Hossain said there is no institution in Bangladesh for producing qualified tourist guides.
He said the country needs to develop a curriculum and a specific method giving a chance to people for getting trained up.
Responding to a question, Masud Hossain said, “It’s absolutely the government’s job. The private sector doesn’t do it in any country. We must make sure that we have government-sponsored guides.”
He said he has so far dealt with some 35,000 foreign tourists but he does not even have government’s approved guides. “We have some 22 tourist guides and they follow our own manual.”
The TOAB Director also laid emphasis on having other guides like archeological guides, nature guides, marine guides and beach and island guides apart from the conventional ones.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir also recognised the importance of having qualified tourist guides to promote tourism.
“We’ll work on it and this is already there in our activity plan,” Kabir told the news agency while explaining steps taken for promoting tourism.
He said the Dhaka University (DU) is going to introduce a long course on tourist guides and BTB will go for partnership with the DU if the university wants.
The CEO said they need resources and a very strong and international standard master plan so that they can work as per the plan. “Still, I’ m very hopeful and we’ll continue to work to promote tourism.”
Talking to this correspondent Chairperson of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management Dr Mojib Uddin Ahamed said, “We can’t imagine tourism sector without tourist guides.”
He said necessary steps need to be taken so that Bangladesh can produce qualified tourist guides which will help boost the sector.
For the first time in Bangladesh, the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, DU is going to introduce ‘Campus Tourism’ in its University campus in collaboration with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), according to another official.
This project aims to attract foreign tourists and let them know about the impressive green credentials as well as the monuments having historical and cultural significance around the vast campus of the university.
According to the industry insiders, historically tourist guiding is one of the oldest human activities and today it is difficult to perceive the organised tourism without the service of guides, tour managers, tour leaders and tourist guides.
Tour guides must be thoroughly knowledgeable about the cities, regions and countries where they work, they said adding that well-qualified tour guides provide entertaining, relevant and organised heritage information to tourists.
The tour guides have the additional responsibility to keep all the tourist happy, comfortable and satisfied visiting various places.