10 Apr 2018 – 10:33
DOHA: Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has announced that its Tour Guide Training and Licensing programme has now been extended to include desert safari guides in Qatar. The programme, which will involve training all drivers of 4×4 tourism vehicles, will begin on April 15, 2018.
The training will be provided by Doha Off-road Training Centre and will see guides hone their skills across all aspects of off-road driving including safety, navigation, convoy driving and emergency handling.
Safari drivers will also be provided with tour guide training to enhance their communication with tourists, and provide them with information on the nature and history of Qatar’s desert. Guides who pass the program will be officially licensed by QTA to conduct Safari tours in Sealine, Khor Al Adaid and southern Qatar, as well as areas such as Zikreet and Zubara.
According to QTA officials, the programme aims to train and license all desert safari guides working with destination management companies whether on a full-time or freelance basis. In the future, only licensed safari drivers will be able to provide 4 x 4 safaris for paying guests and tourists.
“Creating a safe, enjoyable and memorable visitor experience is at the heart of QTA’s strategy, and through this training programme we are pleased to offer our partners in the private sector the tools necessary to provide such an experience to all tourists in Qatar,” commented Mohamed Al Ansari, Director of Tourism Licensing at QTA.
“We are also delighted to be working with Doha Off-road Training Centre, who will provide international trainers and assessors for this programme.”
Off-road training gets under way.
Khalid Al Suwaidi, founder and CEO of Doha Bus and Doha Off-road Training Centre, commented: “We are pleased to be working with Qatar Tourism Authority to provide an innovative training programme to safari guides, making use of state-of-the-art vehicles, which are built for desert safaris.
“Doha Off-road Training Centre is a private enterprise, however we also consider ourselves a building block in Qatar’s growing tourism industry, and we are proud to contribute to the development of the sector.”
The initiative is part of several that have been introduced by QTA to raise the standard of tourism service providers and further regulate the tourism sector. So far, 88 tour guides have completed a specialised training programme that made them eligible for an official tour guide license, brought into effect by QTA in 2017. An additional 30 are currently undergoing training.
A third phase of the initiative will be focusing on developing the skills of other specialist guides, such as tour guides leading Chinese tour groups, and multilingual guides focusing on specific nationalities including German, Spanish, French and Italian.
The tour guide training programme is developed by QTA in collaboration with other governmental entities and organisations, who contribute to the course content to ensure that guides deliver fruitful information about Qatar’s history, culture, and its natural ecosystems and wildlife.