Tour operators and/or guides serve as bridges that connect all the actors in the industry. On top of the untapped potential of the country in tourism industry, having qualified and vibrant tour operators helps to boost the industry and reap the right amount of benefit from it.
According to a document of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT) tour operators have to fulfill a series of requirements that are supposed to qualify them for the business. Accordingly an individual intending to engage in tour operation in Ethiopia is required to possess a degree or diploma in tour guide, operation or management, investment license, a 4WD station wagon or mini bus with 10 -12 seats with comprehensive insurance and spare parts, tour guided office with all office material, first aid kits, and small tents with sets.
In addition to this, competency certificate and tour guide ID card will be provided for them after fulfilling forensic investigation, medical test and educational status according to Tewodros Derbew, Tourism Services Competence Accreditation Directorate with the Ministry. Currently there are about six hundred tour guide organizations and three hundred private tour operators across the country that have met all the above requirements, he added.
The ministry is actively participating on offering capacity building seminars for tour guides. It is providing capacity building seminars about culture, architecture, archaeology and other necessary tourist attraction and destination areas and service in Ethiopia, Tewodros added.
He also remarked that tour guide organizations and operators are expected to increase their technological capacity, update their service with the current international tourism industry system and work closely with the government apart from attracting tourists to the country and offering quality service to inspire tourism.
Eyerusalem Terefe, Manager at Ethio-Guzo Tour and travel P.L.C told The Ethiopian Herald that the company is undertaking various activities to provide quality tour service for tourists and exercising eco-tourism. Among them, they permanently prepare training and awareness creating campaigns for all its staff members in order to create sustainable tour environment.
“We are now telling our clients, that if at all they want to give something to the children, they would rather give them stationary materials like pen and note books than bottles and sweets. Many of our clients are now doing so.” she indicated.
Ethiopia should work hard in order to get its’ benefit from this industry. Especially every private or public organization, each individual, the government and all the stakes should promote the country’s tourist opportunity widely across the world in their day to day activity. Particularly they should promote the tourist opportunities using each and every chance in participating any training or educational opportunity in every foreign country, Eyerusalem added.
On the contrary, she has insinuated that the government should take care in providing the appropriate receipt for all tourist destinations to assure transparency. More over what tourist access on the websites and what they will visit personally should be similar. All destinations on the web site looks like heaven, yet when they go to the place personally, they see dirty places around some destinations. This is likely to erode the country’s image.
Shelemew Oulfata, General Manager of Sofomar Tour and Travel P.L.C on his part said that the company is dedicated to introduce Ethiopia for the world through its quality tour guiding service for the last fifteen years. As to him, the company has strong relationship with MoCT. Hence they participate in all capacity building and experience sharing campaigns prepared by the Ministry which is very convenient for introducing Ethiopia in a best manner.
He further emphasized that tourism creates endless economic opportunity for Ethiopia in spite of the fact that there is huge tourist attraction sight in the country. It can be also served as the best source of foreign currency. Therefore, there should be continuous support and follow up for whole stake holders engaging in this smokeless industry.
An extraordinary promotion activity must be carried out by the tour guides and the government in order to provide quality and excellence tour service in inspiring tourism for Ethiopia said Fissiha Demisie, Marketing Manager at African Queen Tour Operation approached by The Ethiopian Herald.
He further hinted that the government is responsible for fulfilling each accommodation including the infrastructure around the tourist destination. Beside this the government especially MoCT must address each tourist destinations including the wild life. It is also better to take tourists in each part of the country which the tourist attraction areas are found.
Tewodros further stated that the ministry in collaboration with the government is on the way to reduce challenges seen around the tourist destinations. Therefore, the government together with all the stakes should avoid all the challenges to provide quality and excellence tour service and inspiring tourism.
The Ethiopian Herald March 16/2019
BY HIZKEL HAILU