A NEW course, aimed at students already in the tourist industry or aspiring guides who want to get into the industry in the North Highland area, is now available at seven study locations across the University of the Highlands and Islands.
The certificate in higher education tourist guiding (North Highlands) is specifically designed for the North Highland area. Students attending the one-year, full-time course will also gain a green badge qualification from the Scottish Tourist Guides Association.
“We established this new programme at the request of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association after our success with a similar green badge programme we created in Orkney to capitalise on the increased cruise ship traffic to the island,” explained Professor Donna Heddle, course leader and director of the Centre for Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
“The Scottish Tourist Guides Association has great pleasure, to work with Professor Heddle and her team, on this exciting new exciting programme of study,” added Patricia Blain, Scottish training manager for the Scottish Tourist Guides Association.
“There is a need for tourist guides in this area who in turn will become ambassadors for the region and Scotland, enhancing the visitors’ experience of the Northern Highlands, while acting as the caretakers of their area’s traditions, history, culture and environment.”
“Tourism is a major driver of the economy in the North Highlands,” said Professor Heddle. “We want to support initiatives to encourage local people to see tourism and cultural heritage as a real career opportunity.”
The university is also developing virtual bus tours to support the new course.
The online tours will allow students to learn remotely by experiencing a virtual tour with accurate mapping, a route plan and all other necessary further information embedded in their online learning experience.
“The success of the course is rooted in its focus in the community and immersion in the cultural heritage of the North Highlands,” said Professor Heddle.
“But in parallel with that, students will also learn from expert academic and tourist guide trainers and have access to extensive virtual resources.”
On successful completion of the course, students will be eligible to articulate into the second year of some of the other tourism related degrees offered by the university.
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