On October 29, 2017, 39 tour guides completed a training course on international standards for tour guides. Members of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) trained them on the best techniques to plan and conduct guided tours, as well as ways to better research, document, and relay facts about cultural and historical sites. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the training as part of its broader efforts to improve tourism in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Training activities included one week of classroom learning and hands-on practice conducting guided tours in and around Bishkek. The participants improved their presentation, interpretation, and group management skills.
“The training totally changed the way we look at guiding” says Rakhat Dzhamalova from Karakol. “Comparing our past performance against WFTGA standards showed us exactly what we could do better to improve our tours.”
During the second week, 15 of the strongest guides completed a one-week “trainer” course that will enable to them to conduct similar courses after they receive WFTGA accreditation. Soon Kyrgyzstani guides will be able to learn the best tricks of the trade without the need to rely on international trainers.
Tour guides play an important role in the tourism sector as they are ambassadors for the tourists visiting Kyrgyzstan. Earlier this year, USAID organized the largest-yet training for trekking guides from all over the country.
In 2016, tourism contributed 4.7% of country’s GDP and capital investments in this sector have increased five-fold in the last ten years. USAID continues to advance tourism in the Kyrgyz Republic through strengthening tourism businesses, organizing cultural events and promoting the country in international markets.