(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Tourism Ministry announced on Thursday that it was launching a NIS 1.5
million grant allocation program to attract and train new tour guides who speak
sought after languages.
Anticipating growth in tourism from various
countries in the upcoming years, the ministry’s Professional Training Department
is seeking to train people who are fluent in languages such as Polish, Japanese,
Indonesian, Czech and Swedish to lead tour groups in Israel. For that purpose it
is offering suitable candidates grants of up to NIS 12,000 towards tour guide
The Tourism Ministry emphasized in a press release the
importance of the level of service tourists receive from the moment of
to the time of departure and expressed its desire to expand the supply
languages spoken by licensed tour guides “an integral and central part
“Recently, there has been an impressive growth in
incoming tourism from the main source countries, alongside growth from
markets, which has created a lack of supply in native-speaker tour
certain languages, including Italian, Polish, Portuguese, German,
Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian, Czech, Greek
Dutch,” read the statement.
The statement continued to cite examples
showing large increases in incoming tourists during the first six months
year from places like Indonesia (173% increase from last year) China
increase) and Portugal (139%).
Other countries showing impressive growth
in the same time frame include Germany (35%) and Italy (58%).
guides who escort the tourist from the moment he arrives in Israel to
of his departure, are among the most important factors in the tourism
in terms of their influence on the visitor experience and on their
make a return visit and become a ‘tourism ambassador.’ More and more
are expected to visit Israel from more and more countries in the coming
and we must prepare ourselves, starting today, to greet them with the
level of service,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.
the project will be required to pass certain aptitude tests in order to
for the grant.
The Israel Tour Guides Association congratulated the
Tourism Ministry on the move stating they would welcome into the
certified tour guide.
Yossi Weiss, the group’s chairman added that a
quicker way to achieve the same result would be to offer grants to aid
guides to learn additional languages. “If knowledgeable and experienced
who are already working in the field were to receive grants towards
language courses, we would all benefit,” he said.
Information on Tourism
Ministryapproved and -supervised tour guide courses can be found on the
ministry’s Web site. Grant requests for the present financial year must
presented by September 1.
Tour guide certification requires attending one
of the approved tour guide courses available in schools across the
Students are expected to attend more than 520 hours in class and 80 days
field. Courses are usually spread out over one and a half to two years
roughly NIS 20,000. Courses are taught in Hebrew and English.
the grant will be delivered in two stages, half upon successful
half the syllabus and half upon passing the certification test.