Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Samaras: Save tourist guide training in Greece
Greek Prime Minister Mr. Samaras and Greek Minister of Tourism Mrs. Olga Kefalogianni have long ago started a devaluation war against the professional qualified tourist guides by continuously revising the tourist guide legislation in Greece.
They obviously don't care whether their country's tourist
guides are properly trained and inspired to be able to offer the
high quality guiding services they have been offering to the
visitors of Greece for many decades.
The doors of the tourist guide schools in Greece have been kept closed by the Ministry of Tourism since 2010, while the candidates who took the necessary exams to enter are still held hostages, long waiting to study what they have chosen, in order to become professional tourist guides.
The government's next carefully planned strike against our tourism and against the cultural and natural heritage of Greece will be the reduction of the duration of training in general and of the study field trips in the tourist guides' state vocational schools.
Then, the final blow will be to hand the tourist guide schools over to certain private training institutions, where no quality control or evaluation of the study program, trainers or assessors will be feasible any longer.
The European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG), the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) and their members, including the Panhellenic Tourist Guide Federation (POXEN), have expressed their opposition to the plans of the Greek government.
They consider the high quality training of tourist guides as part of the tourism policy of a country or region and therefore they support its importance. They have all urged the Greek government to reconsider its policy towards tourist guide profession and training, which, as it stands now, may have grave implications to the detriment of the protection of consumers and tourists, not only in Greece but - as the EU Directives dictate - also in the rest of Europe.
The state tourist guide schools of Greece have been considered by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) as an example for training guides in Europe in 1996, with its appropriate expertise advised to be exported to other countries.
Short term seminars organized by the Greek state or cuts in our study program are clearly insufficient to make up for the special vocational training and area-specific education that tourist guides have been receiving so far in Greece.