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.
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.
Chairman (Western Region), IATO