People, Travel

Shortage of Tour Guides Looms

Shortage of Tour Guides LoomsShortage of Tour Guides Looms

The expected influx of tourists could cause a severe shortage of tour guides, according to board member of the Tourist Guides’ Association.

“Tourism seems to be booming, but the ensuing rise in demand for tour guides will be hard to meet,” Abbas Primordian was quoted by ISNA as saying Thursday.

After the conclusion of a historic nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers in July, Iranian and foreign analysts said Iran’s inbound tourism could emerge as one of the winners of the agreement after the crippling economic sanctions are lifted.

However, the emerging industry suffers from a variety of problems, including, but not restricted to, lack of trained personnel and woefully underdeveloped infrastructure.

“If we start to receive more tourists that we already do in fall, which is a peak season, we will be unable to accommodate demand because every trained tour guide will be busy,” the tour guide said, adding that it could disappointment the visitors and harm Iran’s image as a popular travel destination trying for second coming in nearly four decades.

Tour operators are already having a hard time catering to Chinese and Japanese travelers due to a lack of tour guides fluent in Japanese and Mandarin, and Pirmoradian warned that unless steps are taken to address the problem, “in two years we’re going to have a big problem finding guides for tourists from other non-English speaking countries, such as France and Spain.”

He said unlike most other countries, Iran’s numerous historical, cultural and natural sites necessitate well-planned tour packages and expert guides.

Pirmoradian appealed for cooperation between relevant bodies to address the growing but logical demands of the industry and warned that setbacks in the travel industry could  eventually spill over into other sectors “which can only be bad for the economy.”