The Guyana Sustainable Tourism Initiative (GSTI) recently completed the second phase of the Guyana Interpretive Guide Training and Field Guide Development Programme.
In a press release GSTI said the training for 23 tour guides and 15 owners, managers and leaders from tourism operations across the country lasted about three weeks. The GSTI, a joint project of USAID and the Guyana Trade and Investment Support Project and the Guyana Tourism Authority sponsored and organised the training. Chuck Lennox, Principal of Cascade Interpretive Consulting LLC was the lead trainer.
The USAID/GTIS Project and Lennox also worked with the GTA and the National Parks Commission to train 12 additional guides at the Kaieteur National Park. Lennox has 25 years of professional experience in developing quality interpretative, education and training programmes and has worked in numerous destinations and with countless guides over his career.
Phase II of the training was held from October 3-7 and involved two main segments: two days of follow-up guide training for the guides that participated in Phase I and one day of field guide development training for guides and representatives from tourism organisations and community tourism projects countrywide. The guide training sessions allowed guides to report on their recent experiences guiding visitors and to ask questions that may have come up in the field. They also discussed different ways that they were able to share and teach the training information with other guides and staff at their home site.
The training also allowed mock tours led by each guide and sessions on guide challenges, non-verbal communication, organising interpretive programmes and an overview of experiential tourism. The guides also provided feedback on the Guyana Tour Guides group that was set up on Facebook as a networking tool for all guides in Guyana.
Reflecting on the programme, Lennox said, “It was an opportunity of a lifetime to be involved in developing a new generation of guides in a very promising tourism market. Visitors remember the people they encounter on their travels and hopefully our training will help form a lasting memory for a future visitor to Guyana.”