The municipal government of El Nido is set to conduct an eco-tour guiding training on the third week of April to accredit professional guides for its growing tourism sector, with the town’s projection of an influx of around 64,000 tourists this summer.
“The training aims to fill in the shortage of tour guides in El Nido, especially come summer time and throughout the peak tourism season that lasts until May,” municipal tourism officer Arvin Acosta told Palawan News on Wednesday.
The town, which currently has 347 existing municipal government-accredited tour guides, still needs more to attend to around 200 tour boats that visit their island destinations.
“If each boat should have at least one licensed tour guide for every six tourists, then this current number isn’t really enough,” he added.
The intensive week-long training is going to be sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in cooperation with the El Nido Tour Guides Association (ENTGA), El Nido Foundation and the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO).
The training, which aims to improve the communication skills of 45 pre-screened participants, is necessary for their accreditation as tour guides.
The other applicants who failed to make it due to deficient English communication skills can still join the next training that will be offered in May to become tour attendants.
“Tour attendants will be the added workforce to satisfy the one guide per six tourists ratio. Basically, their task is to assist the guide who will do a lot of talking,” Acosta said, adding 40 slots will be opened for them.
He said applicants are required to show proof of local residency for at least six months, are service-oriented, and have environmental awareness and commitment.
The tour attendants’ training will be held in partnership with the Palawan Young Sustainable Tourism Advocates (PYSTA), which implements the Be Frontliners Improving Tourism (Be FIT) project in El Nido and Siargao.
This marine conservation-focused training is one of the six projects funded by the US Department of State through its Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative program in the Philippines.
Acosta said both tour guides and attendants’ training will also have introductory lectures on basic life support (BLS) and standard first aid, as well as on water safety and rescue (WASAR), respectively to be given by the Philippine Red Cross and Philippine Coast Guard.
“Eventually, there would be full course BLS and WASAR training for them in the future,” he said.