Foreign-language tour guides in great demand

Tourism Ministry launches training courses in 22 languages.

tourism jerusalem 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tourism jerusalem 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A plan to train hundreds of tour guides in 22 different languages for an expected boom in tourism was announced Wednesday by the Tourism Ministry. According to the ministry, Russian, French, Italian, Hungarian, Chinese, German and Korean tourists, among others, are due to visit within the next few years, following the massive marketing campaigns the ministry has conducted overseas for the past year. Some 5 million tourists are expected to visit Israel during 2012, the ministry said. "The constant growth in the number of tourists requires the maintenance of the high-level tourist product, which is also measured in the services offered to different types of tourists," Tourism Ministry director-general Shaul Tzemach said Wednesday. "The tour guides accompany the tourists throughout their visit in Israel," he said, "and therefore they are committed to be professional, to know the country, its sites, its history and heritage, and to do it in a pleasant way. These issues and matters are being taught in the courses the Tourism Ministry runs and is keen about implementing." About 2,000 tour guides operate in Israel in 22 different languages, and 500 more are being trained in 14 different courses, the ministry said. The Tourism Ministry is currently seeking candidates who speak German, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Scandinavian languages. The curriculum also includes the history of ancient Jerusalem, desert tourism, religions, extreme tourism, culinary-oriented tourism and more. Potential candidates should be Israeli citizens, be at least 21 and have no criminal record. Authorized tour guides are required to graduate from a Tourism Ministry course.