Multilingual Omani tour guides woo tourists

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Omani tour guides are now learning new languages to meet the needs of those visitor who prefer having tour guides who can converse in their language. A statement by the Ministry of Tourism said, “The Ministry encourages Omani tour guides to participate in the field in order to attract tourists.”

Engineer Mohamed Bin Mahmoud Al Zadjali, General Director of Investor Services and Quality Management at the Ministry, called the role of tour guides “pivotal” and encouraged Omanis to engage in the field.

Al Zadjali added that “in 2018, the Ministry issued 113 tour guide licences, including 54 general guides, 44 local tour guides and one specialist guide and 14 temporary guides. There were 107 licensed English instructors, 7 renewals for German, 4 French speakers and one Russian, Italian and Japanese instructors each.”

The comments came during the Ministry of Tourism’s celebration of the International Day of the Tour Guide, under the patronage of Sayyid Adel Bin Al Murdas Al Busaidi, Advisor minister of Tourism for Tourism Affairs.

According to Said Al Arafati, an Omani tour guide who speaks French, “We get requests from French, Belgian and other tourists for an Omani tour guide who can speak French to guide them. It makes a difference to them when it’s a local. Tour guides have also seen an increase in the number of French-speaking tourists.”

Essa Mohammed Al Sawafi, owner of Wadi Adventure Company, said: “Oman is the prefect place to practice adventure tourism. I am happy to see these activities grow here. What I love about this job is that it helps me practise my English language and do adventuring as well. Many Omanis come to practice these activities, which includes going to the wadis and caves, and sometimes travelling by air or driving over a thousand kilometres.”

One of Al Sawafi’s customer added, “I understand Arabic but my friend didn’t, so even though only one out of ten of us spoke English, Al Sawafi explained everything about the adventure in English to make the experience more inclusive to my friend. This is the kind of hospitality Oman is known for.”

Al Zadjali added that “ there is a growing demand among Omani girls for this profession of tour guides.”

The Ministry has licensed 14 tourist guides during the last two years, stressing that the ministry pays attention to hiring people from both the genders.

Dr. Abdul Kareem Al Mugheiri, Dean of the Oman Tourism College, delivered a speech on the role of the College in promoting the profession of tourism guidance through finding courses and training them in the work sites.

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