Approved tour guides are facing near-extinction, warns letter

The Ministry of Tourism is facing criticism for allegedly favouring facilitators with minimal qualifications over approved tour guides, who have played the role of cultural ambassadors for years.

Syed Imtiyaz Jaleel, Aurangabad’s Member of Parliament, has written to the ministry pointing out that these facilitators chosen by an online process are often just 10+2 qualified. “It seems, it is the policy of the tourism department to promote these facilitators to work as facilitator-cum-guides,” Jaleel wrote in his letter to Minister of Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel. 

The Department of Tourism was established 60 years ago and since then, the department has been selecting efficient and qualified guides. The selection criteria was tough, and the well qualified guests had to undergo physical training too.

The approved guides have always rendered invaluable service to tourism but are now completely ignored, according to the letter. They are facing near extinction in the name of introducing facilitators who are expected to work as tourist guides in future. “They are going to gradually replace the well qualified tour guides in the country,” the letter warned.

“This will naturally hamper tourism and the image of India as these facilitators lack in-depth knowledge and cannot deliver what is expected of cultural ambassadors, which is what the approved tour guides have been doing all these years,” Jaleel wrote in the letter.

“Therefore, you are requested to stop the process of superficially training the facilitators and not to snatch bread and butter opportunities from tourist guides and their families,” Jaleel added