Reeling below Covid losses, vacationer guides peeved by govt transfer to ‘demote’ them

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR
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October 11, 2020 7:58:33 pm

Tourist guides in india, RLG, Regional Level Tourist Guides, tourist guides licence India, tourist guides at ASI monuments, india tourism industry covid, indian expressThere are 3,200 registered RLGs within the nation and over 12,000 guides in all. (Photo: PTI)

Already hit by Covid-19’s physique blow to the tourism business, Regional Level Tourist Guides (RLG), licensed by the Union ministry of tourism, are peeved by the federal government’s choice to cancel the renewal of their licenses after March 2021. The 3,200 RLG can even need to bear an ‘Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC)’, which they are saying is ‘demoting’ them to ‘vacationer facilitators’ from the globally accepted ‘vacationer guides’.

The tourism ministry had on March 2 issued an workplace memorandum (OM) withdrawing its 2011 pointers on the choice and grant of information licences to RLGs. The OM acknowledged that the ministry wouldn’t induct any recent RLGs or situation recent licences for them. The current licences can be legitimate until March 31, 2021.

“The current legitimate Regional Level Tourist Guide license holders should bear the IITF Refresher Course earlier than 31st March, 2021 so as to get the IITF Advanced Category (Heritage) certificates, which might allow them to proceed guiding at ASI Protected Monuments and Heritage websites,” the OM learn.

The choice that the tourism ministry acknowledged had been “reconsidered and reviewed at varied boards” has not gone down nicely with the guiding group. Mina Tilakraj (69) has been a RLG within the Delhi area for 35 years, guiding English and Italian-speaking vacationers. She mentioned, “It is like telling a physician that he’ll now be a paramedic. Will a physician comply with be known as a paramedic?”

Tourist guides in india, RLG, Regional Level Tourist Guides, tourist guides licence India, tourist guides at ASI monuments, india tourism industry covid, indian expressTourist guides in india, RLG, Regional Level Tourist Guides, tourist guides licence India, tourist guides at ASI monuments, india tourism industry covid, indian express Mina Tilakraj (69) has been a RLG within the Delhi area for 35 years, guiding English and Italian-speaking vacationers.

Tourist guides throughout the nation’s 5 areas (North, East, West, South and Northeast), she mentioned, have had near no earnings amid the pandemic and going ahead, if their licences will not be renewed, it might solely set them again additional and deal with them at par with folks not as certified or skilled to do the job, mentioned Tilakraj.

In an electronic mail despatched to Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Meenakshi Sharma on July 23, Tilakraj and 4 different RLGs wrote that there are 3,200 registered RLGs within the nation and over 12,000 guides in all, together with State Tourist Guides, Local Tourist Guides and Monument Tourist Guides.

“We, the RLGs, are the cultural ambassadors of India. We have been chosen, educated, and have our guiding licences accredited by the tourism ministry. Our minimal required qualification was commencement. Now the federal government has launched a brand new course for creating ‘Tourist Facilitators’. The instructional qualification required is Class 10 and 10+2,” mentioned Tilakraj.

She added, “The time period ‘Tourist Guide’ is a world time period authorized by UNESCO’s UNWTO.  A ‘Tourist Facilitator’ is a time period accepted globally for an individual who facilitates a vacationer’s entry and keep within the visiting nation. He or she goes for arrivals, departures, does check-ins and checkouts at lodges and takes care of documentations, passport & bookings of tickets, meals, exhibits, and so forth.”

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She had, in July, additionally written an electronic mail to tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel, stating that the livelihood of over 3,200 RLGs was at stake on account of the federal government’s choice.

The ministry of tourism didn’t reply to queries despatched by The Indian Express in an electronic mail.

Tilakraj had, nonetheless, obtained a reply to her electronic mail on July 10 from Sunil Kumar, Assistant Director (TT). Kumar wrote in his reply, “After dialogue at varied boards and ranges, a choice has been taken by the Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism to discontinue with the system of licensing of guides and to introduce a Certification Programme as a substitute. In accordance with the identical the IITFC Programme has been launched…”

The electronic mail in reply additionally acknowledged, “On completion of the Course, RLGs shall be given the Advance Course Certification (Heritage) below the IITFC Programme. This will allow the RLGs to take vacationers / guests to all ASI websites and monuments on pan-India foundation. The IITF Certificate will due to this fact broaden the alternatives for the prevailing RLGs”.

Tilakraj mentioned that whereas the intention of the federal government was to create extra jobs, regional licences ensured employment alternatives for regional and native guides. With vacationers facilitators allowed to go pan-India, guides in Delhi, the place most international vacationers arrive, might lap up a lot of the alternatives, hurting guides in smaller cities, she mentioned.

Kumar’s electronic mail in reply had additionally acknowledged, “The Ministry shall be creating an e-marketing portal with particulars of all licensed Tourist Facilitators together with their {qualifications} and expertise….By advantage of their huge expertise within the discipline, RLGs could have a definite benefit over others on the platform.”

Jiwan Jyoti Pateriya (70) has been a RLG within the western area, taking international vacationers round Khajuraho and the remainder of Madhya Pradesh. With 50 years of guiding expertise and fluency in Italian, Spanish, German, French and Japanese, Pateriya mentioned, “This refresher course (IITFC) is irrelevant for us. Does our expertise haven’t any worth? It would additionally not be proper for us, at our superior age and years of expertise, to be put at par with vacationer facilitators. ‘Tourist guides’ is what we’ve historically been known as and that’s what we should always at all times be known as.”

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