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November 09, 2012

UP Tourism Trains 350 Local Guides Exclusively For Varanasi


http://www.travelbizmonitor.com/up-tourism-trains-350-local-guides-exclusively-for-varanasi-18338

09 November 2012

Mumbai: For the first time ever, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Tourism is training a fresh batch of local tourist guides exclusively for Varanasi. According to Avinash Mishra, Deputy Director, UP Tourism, the training and licensing process is happening in Varanasi and Allahabad in view of the upcoming Kumbh fair. The training process is meant only for residents of the city. As many as 350 local tourist guides will be registered and will be provided with licenses after they pass all stages of the training process, he said, according to report in The Times of India. The purpose of creating the new batch of local tourist guides is to meet the scarcity of tourist guides in the city. While there are around 200 state-level tourist guides in the city, India Tourism has given license to around 110 guides at present for Varanasi.

So far, there were only regional tourist guides registered with India Tourism and state-level tourist guides registered with UP Tourism. Mishra said that while the regional and state-level tourist guides can travel across North India and UP respectively, the domain of local tourist guides will be confined to tourist places in Varanasi only. "The license of regional and state-level tourist guides is re-issued every three years after verification, but the license of local tourist guides will be valid for a year and re-issued after that," informed Mishra.

According to information collected from India Tourism office in Varanasi, there is a huge demand of tourist guides, especially to assist tourists from non-English speaking countries. Over the last two years, the number of Chinese visitors has increased. Besides, German, Italian, French, Korean, Japanese and Spanish tourists form a major share of tourists to the city.

"India Tourism selected regional tourist guides prior to Commonwealth Games in 2010 and there have been no selections since. There is scarcity of Korean- and Japanese-speaking tourist guides registered with India Tourism, and this shortage is attended to by tourist guides registered with UP Tourism," informed an official from India Tourism.