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Tour Guides Need To Be Rewarded

MPHO TLALE
Kori Bastard
Tour guiding is challenging, yet unrewarded. This was said by visiting professor Rosemary Black at a public lecture at the University of Botswana (UB) recently.

Black is co-hosted by the institution and Birdlife Botswana for a scholarly visit. Black stated that tour guides play a very crucial role  in the tourism industry as they contribute significantly to how much tourists enjoy their experience.

She added that the guides provide a lens through which tourists see things, so they must be well versed in their particular area of tour guiding.

Delivering her presentation, the professor said that tour guides perform many roles within their duties. She said they play the roles of communicator, educator, group manager, mediator, navigator and even perform first aid should the need arise.

She further added that tour guides have the ability to influence three sustainability dimensions which include; enhancing a visitors understanding and valuing of sites, influencing and monitoring the visitors’ behavioural change, both on site and at a destination, as well as fostering visitors’ pro-conservation attitudes and behaviours through persuasive communication.

In addition, Black stated that the tour guide assigned to people

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can make a visit to any site memorable. She pointed out that everything lies in the tour guide’s ability to engage with the people s/he is hosting; and to paint a picture that makes them want to learn more about where they are.

She added that this can be achieved through interpretation, which entails both engaging a clear cut communication and entertaining tourists. A tour guide should make a visitor think, make them curious, connect with the environment and find it meaningful as well as make them appreciate nature conservation and its importance. He/she should enhance visitor’s understanding and valuing of sites, she said.

Professor Black pointed out, in general, tour guides can be effective to sustainable tourism if they are acknowledged as independent critical thinkers with a desire and commitment to ongoing professional development as well as supporting the quality of tour guiding which includes improving the levels of pay and other rewards, amongst others, amongst others.



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