Trained guides for the West

The Western In­dia Chap­ter of In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Oper­a­tors (IATO) is fight­ing for agents in Mum­bai who are reel­ing un­der an acute short­age of qual­ity tourist guides.

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De­spite the Govern­ment of In­dia in­tro­duc­ing a tourist guide course for Western In­dia at Gwalior’s In­dian In­sti­tute of Tourism and Travel Man­age­ment, the city of Mum­bai still reels un­der an acute short­age of qual­ity tourist guides. To tackle this prob­lem from its roots, the In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Oper­a­tors (IATO) has sug­gested an idea to the In­dia Tourism of­fice in New Delhi. N.S. Rathore, Chair­man (Western Re­gion), IATO, says, “We have a big short­age of guides in Mum­bai. With the help of Vikas Rustagi, Re­gional Di­rec­tor of In­dia Tourism, we have sent a let­ter to the head of­fice in Delhi re­gard­ing this and re­quested them to con­duct the course in Mum­bai as well.” The same prob­lem oc­curred in 2009 and

He adds that a lot of po­ten­tial can­di­dates may not be able to live in Gwalior for six months for the course, es­pe­cially women. “The depart­ment has now un­der­stood the prob­lem. While the Maharashtr­a Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion is con­duct­ing city-spe­cific cour­ses, we are con­cen­trat­ing on the Western In­dia re­gion for the course that in­cludes Maharashtr­a, Goa, Gu­jarat, Mad­hya Pradesh and Ch­hat­tis­garh. From our pre­vi­ous two cour­ses we got ma­jor­ity of guides from Kha­ju­raho. Though the course was for Western In­dia, Mum­bai got only three guides,” Rathore claims. He ex­pects 60-70 women can­di­dates to en­rol if the course is con­ducted in Mum­bai.

An­other prob­lem was lack of guides at Ele­phanta Caves since most par­tic­i­pants in the first two batches were 65-plus and were un­able to walk up.

N.S. Rathore

Chair­man (Western Re­gion), IATO

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