There has been a call for the necessary legislative changes to be made immediately which would ensure that certified Tour Guides are given official status.
Montego Bay’s Mayor and Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis made the call on Wednesday March 20, 2019 while addressing a graduation ceremony for the first cohort of Montego Bay City Tour Guides who were trained and certified by the Tourism Product Development Company Limited, TPDCO.
The newly minted Montego Bay City Tour Guides, some of whom were unofficially engaged in tour guide activities in the city for over 40 years, were trained and certified under a special partnership between TPDCo and the St. James Municipal Corporation.
TRAINED AND CERTIFIED: The first cohort of Montego Bay City Tour Guides proudly display their certificates after the graduation ceremony held at the St. James Municipal Corporation on Wednesday March 20, 2019. Sharing the occasion with the Tour Guides are Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis (2nd right), Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations Limited, Joy Roberts (3rd right), Jamaica Tourist Board Western regional Director, Odette Dyer (3rd left) and TPDCO’s Western regional Manager, Kenya Kedoo Laing (5th left).
During the ceremony, Mayor Davis said the training and certification of the Tour Guides who are now highly respected tourism professionals, empowered to make a legitimate contribution to the tourism sector.
He said the time has come for the work which certified tour guides undertake in promoting Jamaica and its products to be given the status it deserves.
“It has always been a concern of not just the St. James Municipal Corporation, but other stakeholders that unofficial City Tour Guides have been working in the sector, some for over 40 years…With City Tour Guides being certified by TPDCo and the Jamaica Tourist Board, I am suggesting that we look at the legislative framework to grant them and their activity, legal status”, Mayor Davis said.
He pointed out that “even though they are certified, there is a law against soliciting as it relates to intercepting visitors to offer them a service. So I am suggesting that the matter be looked at in giving them legal tenure and status”.
Mayor Davis said it was an easy decision for the St. James Municipal Corporation to partner with TPDCo in getting the Guides trained and certified as it was a means of adding value to the human resources which are available in the tourism sector.
The graduates were also challenged by Mayor Davis to conduct themselves in a manner which is in keeping with the rules and regulations of the tourism trade and to encourage others who may be illegally engaged in the sector to come forward for training and certification.
The Tour Guides who are now TEAM Jamaica trained and certified are drawn from across the City of Montego Bay, also underwent customer service training