Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tour guides training

My name is Mohamed and I was a volunteer with GVI as a national sponsored student for 10 weeks last year. Before coming to GVI I was trained by Kenya Wildlife Service on fisheries and aquatic sciences and currently studying coastal and marine resource management. Now a friend of GVI and a big fan of their conservation efforts.
GVI Kenya with the support of Kenya Wildlife Service did a training of tour guides from the tour companies operating within the Kisite Mpunguti marine protected area. The main objective of this training was to teach the guides on the biology, ecology and identification of the local marine species, but at the same time how to improve the dolphin watching tours with less negative impact on the marine ecosystem and its inhabitants.
GVI had observed the way the tours were being offered and how they were affecting the environment, so we thought it was necessary to do this training. Basically the training was conducted for two days and we covered more on:-Tour trips-how they were being offered, what were the numbers of the tourists from different parts of the world, among the tourists who were the majority and what the tourists thought of the tours. So we trained the guides on hospitality to improve the quality of the tour through interaction, making the trips more enjoyable.Code of conduct-we stressed on the do´s and don’ts while watching dolphins and marine animals. We explained why it is important to follow the set code of conduct and how it can be destructive to the ecosystem if neglected.Identification of reef fishes, marine mammals and reptiles-we trained the guides on how to identify the different species of dolphins, turtles and the reef fishes; the biology and ecology of these creature. All this was to equip the guides with interesting facts and the required knowledge the tourists would like and enjoy to know.Measures on how to minimize the impact of tourism on the marine ecosystem-using reference from research done on bottlenose dolphin in other parts of the world we showed them how irresponsible tourism could threaten the dolphins and in turn their source of their livelihood. We explained to them the measures they could take to ensure there is sustainable balance between tourism and conservation.
All in all, we are so glad to say that our training was effective as we can see that the guides have learnt something from it and this is true because as we go out on our daily research routine we can see that the trained guides are adhering to the rules in the code of conduct and putting in practise whatever they learnt.