The U.S. Government, through USAID, partnered with the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association to train 75 trekking guides from May 10 through 24. Trekking guides from across the country were trained on customer care, international safety, and geographical orientation. The five-day training included a mix of classroom studies and a two-day mountain trek at an altitude of 2,300 meters in the Jyrgalan Valley. This was the first large-scale trekking guide training in Kyrgyzstan—an event which the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association intends to continue in the future.
Trekking is one of the leading activities for tourists in Kyrgyzstan, especially among Europeans, who are drawn to Kyrgyzstan’s beauty and natural environment. Until now, local guides have lacked access to high-quality mountaineering training and professional certification courses. Good training results in a positive tourism experience, thus encouraging growth in the sector. To address this issue, USAID’s Business Growth Initiative and the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association are working with trekking guides to enhance their skills, deliver better services, and improve the quality and safety of backcountry tourism in Kyrgyzstan.
“We had training programs for guides in the past, but this was the first time we had such an interesting and useful training program. Usually, participants are given only theory in the classroom. Here the trainer explained the practice in detail and shared his valuable experience,” said Talant Toksonbayev, coordinator of Visit Alay Center and a member of the Osh Destination Management NGO.