Tourism Selangor is piloting a state-endorsed initiative to train and certify locals in Sabak Bernam, Klang and Kuala Selangor as community experts to tourists.
Training for the first batch of 26 locals in the Selangor Community Host Programme, set to conclude in September, comprises four parts, each spanning four days over a five-month-period. It culminates in a written examination which candidates must pass to receive a certificate from the Department of Skills Development.
The certificate is also recognised by Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Tourism Selangor.
Tourism Selangor general manager, Noorul Ashikin Mohd Din, said the pilot was initiated to groom community experts with knowledge of the history, culture, heritage, local food and the rich stories in their areas.
The project will also have a social impact, helping rural communities earn additional income through guiding and showcasing cottage industry products and local craft products.
Tourism Selangor will also help them market their services through its website, and the local experts can broker guiding arrangements with inbound agents, added Noorul.
She further shared that Tourism Selangor plans to roll out the training programme to four other districts in Selangor, namely Ulu Langat, Gombak, Ulu Selangor and Kuala Langat.
Azizi Borhan, managing director, Asutra Convex, said: “Local community guides is not a new idea. It is practised in other countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Brazil, where local guides… take over (from) tourist guides (when the tour) reaches their areas of specialisation.”
While local community guiding brings social benefits and complements
the service of existing guides, Azizi pointed out that it might also result in an increase in tour guide fees.
“Now two guides will have to be paid, instead of one. The payment mechanism will have to be sorted out. What could be done is to pay the travel agency guides to do the transfers and for the specialised guides to do their tours within their specialised areas,” Azizi remarked.