With the goal of replicating tourism industry sustainability best practices into the Kenyan and wider African tourism supply chain through an integrated business-led approach, GreenTour Kenya provided sustainability training for tour guides to learn and adopt responsible guiding practices. There were two online webinars for tour guides this month. The webinars were conducted in two sessions each 3 hours long with a ten-minute break in between. One webinar took place on 8th and 11th June, for safari guides and the other for driver guides, on the 15th and 17th June. The facilitator who led the webinar was Chris Thompson, a champion of sustainable tourism, who is also a previous guide. He has worked for more than 20 years in the tourism industry, and led several sustainability trainings before.
The training consisted of basic sustainability practices of tour guides. Topics such as rights of indigenous people, littering, using guided paths, feeding wild animals, correct language translation, up-to-date knowledge of a destination, guide driving tips and such are what filled the training time. In place of a virtual lecture-type class setting, there was a question and answer time, reaction time i.e. participants commenting, polls also set up to gather answers, videos were played and analyzed. The information prepared was varied to break the monotony and encourage knowledge retention. It was time that kept everyone engaged and interested. The webinar allowed the attendees to talk about issues they encounter while on tours.
Safari guides sustainability training
The webinar was attended by over 50 safari guides. Some in the office, some working from home, while others were out on the field. The attentive guides kept up with the facilitator by replying to questions asked either on the polls or in the chat section. They did not shy away from clarifying information, commenting or giving their input. Here are remarks from some of the webinar attendees;
‘…very articulate and informative; made me be aware for the first time, the UN convention on the rights of the indigenous people…’
‘…I learned many things that will be of more help in my career as a driver-guide, and also my knowledge expanded…’
Driver guides sustainability training
The attendance for this webinar was also fairly large. Joining in from various devices, the guides actively engaged in the sessions. More than gaining knowledge, they also exchanged useful information. Below are comments from a couple of the attendees;
‘The sessions were very informative and educative. Much appreciated and we hope to have more similar sessions in the future.’
‘Thanks for organizing the training. We really appreciate your team’s effort and sacrifice.’
As tour guides come in close contact with the surroundings in the destination and the consumers of tourism products, they are a vital point of upholding and encouraging responsible behaviors. Such pieces of training are crucial and ensure ecosystems of destinations are left intact and treated as they should. There may have been some technical difficulties experienced but in the end, the webinars were able to take place and finish well. All’s well that ends well. We hope more guides will join us in the next training.