Students who have taken part in an initiative between Cardiff Met, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, the Wales Official Tourist Guiding Association (WOTGA) and the Welsh Government were recently awarded the highest guiding accolade within the tourism industry.
Twenty-one students were awarded their Wales Blue Badge, which is recognised worldwide within the tourism industry, by Ken Skates, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism at a ceremony in Gregynog House, near Newtown. In addition, the professional body for tourist guiding in Wales, the WOTGA, officially launched its new digital platform, walesbestguides.com
The course, provided by Cardiff Met and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai during 2012, involved students attending numerous residential weekends over the course of three years. These took place all over Wales and included site visits, guest speakers and training in all the practical skills required, including microphone techniques, group management skills, itinerary writing and dealing will all kinds of customers from all over the world.
Nia Jones from Grŵp Llandrillo Menai said: "It was a very proud day for us all, as the students have worked tremendously hard over the past three years. This course has demanded a high volume of independent reading and fact-finding to ensure the best possible visitor experience, and I am sure that all the newly qualified Blue Badge tour guides will be an asset to the tourism sector in Wales."
Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport Ken Skates added: "I was delighted to have the opportunity to present the Blue Guide Badges in recognition of all the hard work and commitment shown by the guides. The Welsh Government is committed to training people so that they can thrive within the tourism sector. If the visitor economy is to grow, investment in the people who work within the sector is vital. I wish all the students well in telling Wales' story to our many visitors."
The course was part of the Foundation Degree Programme, funded by the European Social Fund, through the Welsh Government.