The Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) has hosted the 6th International Research Forum for Guided Tours, where a number of issues pertaining to the operation of Tourist Guides and their role within the tourism industry have been discussed.
The International Research Forum for Guided Tours was originated by a small dedicated group of researchers in Halmstad University Sweden back in 2009. Since then, it has developed into a bi-annual mobile conference, where people from throughout the world meet to explore and discuss Guided Tours. The conference has travelled to Plymouth, UK, Breda, Holland, Portugal, Denmark and now also Malta.
During the two-day conference, various subjects were discussed including; occupational diseases of tourist guides, tourist guides and their essential role for accessible tourism, tourist guides as catalysts of experiential tourism and best practices in tourist guides’ formal and continuous training.
The conference organisation was taken care of by ITS event students, with the direction of lecturers, forming part of their learning outcomes. A tourist guiding student also acted as compère and rapporteur during the conference.
Following the conference, Professor Luis Miguel Brito from Lisbon said, “I would like to thank you for the excellent job. We all felt we were welcome in your country and your institution and, more than that, we felt as a family working to reach the same scopes.”
Professor Fulden Nuray Kuckergin from Turkey stated, “Thank you very much for this outstanding conference. You were all well-organized and everything was perfect. It was a pleasure to be there.”
In a joint statement, ITS Chairman and CEO, Mr Carlo Micallef and Mr Pierre Fenech, noted that, “As early as 1992, the Institute of Tourism Studies offered study programmes which led to the tourist guiding license. There were 11 students, whom at that time graduated with a Certificate in Tourism Culture and obtained the official status of tourist guides in 1993. Today, 26 years on, there are over 500 licensed guides registered with the Malta Tourism Authority. We are proud to say that the majority of these guides are ITS alumni. Today ITS offers a Higher National Diploma in Tourist Guiding both on full-time and part-time basis and is one of ITS’ most sought after courses.”
The Institute of Tourism Studies Tourist Guiding course does not only focus on the local history and culture, however also instructs students in languages, communication skills and other practical skills which are essential to this sector.
Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi stated that, “The tourism industry is by nature a customer-oriented sector where considerable resources and efforts are exerted in providing the best product to the tourist who will be spending money, which will eventually contribute towards the overall GDP of a country. With Malta’s Tourism Industry at an all-time high and at a constant increase throughout these current years, the industry confirms its position as one of the pillars of the Maltese economy. Such initiatives enhance the continuous professional development of this sector, and the opportunities and challenges discussed in this international conference, in collaboration with tourism regulators, ensure employment stability. This conference keeps on building on our reputation in tourism and supports the connection between Maltese tourist guides and other international tourist guides, which will educate us towards further future growth.”
3rd April 2019