KOTA KINABALU August 10, 2011: Tourist guide associations in Sabah are welcomed to submit their own proposals on training or courses for further enhancing the skills of their members, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
Tourist guides group, he added, could also forward their objections against the proposal recently mooted by federal Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen to have tourist guides in Sabah to undergo a special training to combine their knowledge on city tourism and nature tourism.
“The association can submit to me their own proposals, including the grounds of their objection, against the proposed special training.
I will study them and if necessary meet them for discussion before I meet up with Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen,” he said in a text message (SMS) reply yesterday.
He was asked to comment on a group of tourists guides, who on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over the proposal.
The group in their objection said many blue badge tourists guides in Sabah have 10 to 20 years of experience and thus do not require special training.
This came following Yen Yen’s announcement last week that her ministry would discuss with Masidi the implementation of the new training programme, which she said could be as early as October.
She said the programme was to meet the state’s need to provide quality all-round service to tourists as Sabah’s tourism industry was rapidly developing.
Masidi said Ng had actually phoned him on Sunday and had invited him for a meeting after the fasting month to discuss the tourist guide issues in Sabah, including the curriculum of the proposed special training.
“If it’s a special training or course specifically tailored to suit our needs, it would be better for the tourist guides to wait until the Tourism Ministry announce the details of the proposed training before making their stand,” he said.
He added while it was true that many of the guides in Sabah had vast experience, with some having been in the profession for over 20 years, it should also be considered that there was a need to equip the young guides with good training.
“Experience is the best education but we can’t possibly wait for 20 years for our younger guides to be at par with the current experienced senior guides.
“Continuous training and refresher course would mould our guides, especially the younger ones, to excel in their profession,” he said.