NICARAGUA IS A COUNTRY TO DISCOVER
Edgard Valladares García is 37years old and is originally from Managua with 15 years of experience as a Tour Guide, he speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese and French 50 percent. The excellence of his work earned him the CANATUR award ‘El Gueguense’ in 2013 -2014 as the Tour Guide of the year.
For this experienced Tour Guide, he says, with tourists you have to let them know and feel that Nicaragua is a place to share and enjoy. “Nicaraguan’s have a reputation of being friendly and we have to make that clear. From the first visit, they decide if they will recommend the country to visit to their friends and family. That’s why we are the ambassadors of Nicaragua. If the tourist is not comfortable, we must try to make them feel comfortable. “
He adds that “we cannot take tourists only to see monuments. We have to make them live the experience, introducing them into the daily life of Nicaragua. I like for the tourist to see how the tortillas and handicrafts are made “.
Valladares remarks that Nicaragua has a history of wars, which can generate some fear among tourists. However, once they are in the country, it becomes a paradise for tourists. “They like how we have preserved the culinary arts, how hammocks are made, the furniture’s, handicrafts, and tortillas. They even love our writers.”
He explains that “Nicaragua is a country to discover, and tourists realize that, but we need to improve on how to deal with waste treatment. It is not pleasant for tourists to come and see how the garbage is thrown. We are in debt with environmental education, because we keep throwing lots of it “.
WORKING WITH LOCAL TOUR GUIDES
According to Valladares, most tourists that visit Nicaragua are Americans and Canadians but there are also German, Spanish, African, Australian, and New Zealand. “They all want to discover Nicaragua”.
One element in the chain of care for tourists, is the local Tour Guide. “They are very helpful because they know the area very well because of their familiarity. I love working with them. We coordinate perfectly well. When tourists come looking for a specific animal or bird specie, local guides know exactly where to find them.“
WITHOUT WINE CULTURE
One of Edgard Valladares recommendation is that restauranteurs and hoteliers should prepare their staff better in the knowledge of wines. “Nicaragua has no wine culture and it is very uncomfortable to take a tourist to a specific restaurant or hotel and they do not know what kind of wine they have when they ask. Commonly the server doesn’t know the answer. This information is valuable for tourists and will demonstrate the knowledge of the server” PREPARING TOUR GUIDES The Tour Guide and the Tour Operator are the stars of inbound tourism. Combine the “warmth” and “correct information”, and you will have organized tourism. Tour Operators play a big role as they are the ones who are answering the concerns of tourists, and then guide them during their stay in the country in their native language. A weakness that Tour Operators are currently facing in the country, is the lack of sufficient certified Tour Guides due to the growth that tourism industry is actually experiencing. This weakness becomes even more obvious when we receive the visit of cruise ships. This has forced Tour Operators to train new local guides directly or to import guides from neighboring Costa Rica.
The job performed by Tour Guides is essential to ensure a positive and differentiating experience for visitors. For this reason, it is necessary to develop sustainable ongoing training programs for Tour Guides as well as for Specialized Tour Guides. As the country develops and diversifies its services, it becomes necessary for Tour Guides to specialize in many different types of services that the country offers. As of today, Nicaragua has no Specialized Tour Guides.
A TECHNICAL CAREER
The National School of Hospitality (ENAH) from INATEC is promoting a technical career to prepare Tour Guides. This year the course begins classes in July, but they have been open for enrollment since May.
The course is free, it is for one year, and classes are schedule from Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm.
Among the requirements are that the student is 16 years or older, has a high school diploma, and has a valid cedula (ID). There is only room for 25 people.
Gloria Toruño, responsible for foreign relations, said that classes taught are technical training for Tour Guides, Tour Planning and Tour Marketing. THE ASSOCIATION In 2011, the Nicaraguan Association of Tourist Guides (ASOGTUMIC) was born with 30 Tour Guide members. Their goal is to promote actions to professionalize its members.
- Edition #2