By Roland Williams Thursday, February 16 2012
The Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Industry Certification Programme (TTTIC) is a collaborative effort between the Division of Tourism and Transport (DTT) of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), the Tourism Development Company (TDC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS). Its main goal is to ensure Tourism Operators provide an acceptable level of service, thus improving the quality of the tourist experience and the Tourism Industry in Trinidad and Tobago.
The TTTIC programme certifies five categories of service providers in the local Tourism Industry – Hotels and Accommodations, Tourist Taxi Drivers, Tourist Taxi Operators, Tour Guides, Tour Operators, and Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering Facilities. Each category is governed by a voluntary national standard, namely, TTS 22:Part 2:2008 for Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering Facilities, TTS 579:2009 for Tour Guides, TTS 296:2008 for Tourist and Land Transport Providers, TTS 22:Part 1:2006 for Hotels and Guesthouses, and TTS 580:2009 for Tour Operators. The TTTIC brand is increasingly being associated with excellent quality service, as it gives assurance to visitors that a practioner has achieved or satisfies all requirements. Presently there are 190 tourism operators who are TTTIC-certified, out of which 10 are certified TTTIC Tour guides. As the programme evolves, we envisage many more tourism operators will aspire toward TTTIC certification.
Why a certified Tour Guide?
Trinidad and Tobago is a wonderful and amazingly diverse tourist destination. Not only does it offer three basic elements that many tourists want – sun, sea and sand – but it also offers a vast wealth of historical, religious and natural attractions as well as bustling city and shopping centres.
Spicing up the appeal, our local cuisine is unique while our festivals reflect our multiethnic origins and include the world-renowned Trinidad Carnival. In addition, Trinidad and Tobago’s flora and fauna are exceptional. Seeking them can take you on adventurous hikes through the mountains in north Trinidad to find a picturesque forest pool with a waterfall rippling its surface, or to tour a protected mangrove in south-east Trinidad. There are also turtle and bird watching in north-east Trinidad, scuba diving and snorkeling in tranquil Tobago, and drifting quietly along the waterways in Central Trinidad watching trees bloom with the eye-catching Scarlet Ibis.
With so much to see and do, and so many wonderful holiday memories to start working on, a TTTIC- certified tour guide is certainly essential to fully appreciating what this small, twin-island state has to offer.
A Tour Guide who is TTTIC-certified has contingency plans in place for dealing with emergencies and difficult situations, for example, sickness and injury, adverse weather conditions, or transportation hiccups. TTTIC-certified tour guides are trained and competent to handle the most common medical emergencies out on the field, as one of the stipulated requirements for becoming TTTIC- certified is First Aid training.
Before every tour begins, a pre-assessment check is done on all equipment, for example, first aid kit, compasses, radios, ropes, fire extinguishers, flares, life jackets and any other essential pieces of equipment that can add value to the tour experience. This check is a mandatory requirement for all TTTIC-certified Tour Guides as it is seen as a precautionary measure to ensure that everything is functional and in good working condition.
In addition, a pre- assessment of the tour routes is done before the tour begins, and alternative routes identified if necessary. All research material is vetted before the tour to ensure that the information disseminated to the tour party is concise and accurate.
Another stipulated requirement of becoming TTTIC-certified is that all tour guides shall undergo formal training in the relevant skill area by an approved training agency and possess a valid certificate for two years. Two of these training agencies are the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) and the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI). Specialty tour guides shall have relevant training and experience in a particular area, for example, bird watching, turtle watching, etc. The main objective of the training is to ensure that information is disseminated accurately, and provides a foundation for quality service and professionalism.
Finally, TTTIC -certified tour guides will evoke your imagination and carry you to places that you never knew existed in this beautiful twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago, while imparting knowledge of this country’s rich cultural heritage in the engaging, warm, singsong style that marks the certified Trini. The TTTIC logo gives visitors reassurance that anyone under the brand name brings a high level of customer service that meets International quality standards.
To Identify a Tour Guide who is TTTIC-certified don’t forget to look for the TTTIC logo and ID!
For more information on the TTBS’s tourism industry programmes and standards, please contact:
Roland Williams- Roland.Williams@ttbs.org.tt
662-8827 (Ext 239)
Certification Division –
662-8827 (Exts 169/165)