Iran Travel Information, Tourism Industry News & Reports 

Iran shortage of qualified tour guides casing problems for tourism grow

The promising tourism industry in Iran may be hampered by a shortage of qualified tour guides, Ebrahim Pourfaraj, the chief executive of Iranian Tour Operators Association.

Only a fraction of all registered tour guides in Iran actually possess the skills to conduct tours for foreign tourists, the chief executive of Iranian Tour Operators Association said.

Pourfaraj said, “Only about 300 of the 7,000 authorized tour guides are qualified,” ISNA reported. Based on Iran’s goal of attracting 20 million tourists a year by 2025, the country needs 1,000 skilled tour guides, he added. Last year, 5.2 million tourists visited Iran.

Criticizing licensed training centers for failing to prepare tour guides, he accused them of charging trainees exorbitant fees without imparting knowledge.

“Most students lack a basic knowledge of English, which makes you wonder what they learn at these institutes,” Pourfaraj said, adding that only four people out of the 300 he recently interviewed for membership at ITOA qualified for the job. To remedy the problem, he said the ITOA has struck a deal with Iran Tourist Guides Association to help improve the quality of education and train capable tour guides.

Based on the agreement, the two associations hold a jointly-prepared complementary course for licensed tour guides. The course is conducted in English, French, Italian and German. The course costs 12 million rials ($320) per person but a student only pays 30% of this amount.

“We don’t want financial problems to be in the way, so we [the two associations] pay 70% of the fee per student,” Pourfaraj added.

Forty tour guides signed up for the first course, but only 18 had sufficient knowledge of the English language to get in.

“The rest were referred to an English language institute, with which we have a deal to improve their language skills,” he said.

Having lost its allure due to political differences with the West and international sanctions, the quality of services in both the tourism and hospitality sectors plummeted in Iran.

However, following the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015 and the subsequent lifting of some economic sanctions, Iran now finds itself back on travel brochures and is scrambling to up its standards to cater to the demands of foreign travelers.

The prestigious Swiss hospitality school Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (Lausanne Hotel School) and Dutch Hotel school The Hague have announced plans to set up schools in Iran, while the government has signed an agreement with France to have Iranian hotel managers and staff trained by French experts.

2 Comments on Iran shortage of qualified tour guides casing problems for tourism grow

  1. Well, I am not surprised. When we first founded the Iranian Association of the Tourist Guide, as the founder I foresaw this day. I personally, formulated the course for the tourist guide under the license of NHTV university in 2005. It was inaugurated in the Tourism org. of Iran! I tried to educate tourist guide of Iran but no one really step forward to help in this matter. Now after 10 years, they have reached the conclusion that we are short of Professional tourist guide. Well, until the system invests correctly in this group, we will not have pros in this.

  2. Why other countries don´t have such problems? Due to the understanding of the correct management, they always prepare. The Iranian tourism organizations, tour operators. don´t want to invest in their infrastructures.
    Nothing comes for free and when everything was provided free of charge they did not want to put their hands in thier pocket to educate those who were ready to be educated. The Tourist Guides who are ruling now are the ones who have no education at all nor experience! Then you wonder why, we don´t have educated tourist guides?

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