Enhancing Tour Guide Training for Delivering Nature-Based Tourism Experiences in a Developing Country
Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism
Tour guides provide frontline services to the nature-based tourism industry, but research is limited on how to enhance their training, especially in developing countries. The present study investigates tour guide training requirements, preferred modes and content for training delivery, and the challenges of offering nature-based tourism experiences in Sri Lanka. Informed by stakeholder theory, we used a mixed-method approach to gain the views of key stakeholders, using a questionnaire-based survey and interviews to sample both national tour guides and key informants in Sri Lanka. Two-thirds of the survey respondents expressed interest in tour guide training, particularly online or workshop-based training on subject-specific knowledge such as wildlife and plant life, local cultural history, marine life, and tropical ecology. Also, quarter of the tour guides did not perceive training needs and note the practicalities of participating in training opportunities. Both tour guides and key informants recognize the challenges of the nature-based tourism industry in Sri Lanka, lack of adequate visitor facilities provided at the entrance and inside of parks, along with overcrowding and visitor safety issues. We recommend increasing awareness of the varied functions of tour guides and the importance of training to ensure a high quality of service delivery.
Open Access Status
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