INDIA (Ladakh)

Capacity Building for the Indian Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide Programme in Ladakh

LOCATION City of Leh, Ladakh


OBJECTIVE The main focus of the project is to:
• Improve the guiding skills and knowledge of existing guides involved in guiding at Heritage sites in the target cities;
• Train the trainers for furtherance of the programme locally;
• Create a new platform for future exchange of good practice among the participants.
PARTNERS UNESCO New-Delhi, Central Institute for Buddhist Studies (CIBS), J & K Tourism, Namgyal Institute for Research on Ladakhi Art and Culture (NIRLAC).

BUDGET Own resources

DESCRIPTION The Indian Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide Programme was formerly launched in 2007 in India with the goal to set new standards in India. The Programme intends to raise professional knowledge and capacity in guiding visitors at heritage sites, in particular World Heritage sites. The programme aims to provide the highest level of visitor experience, to raise awareness about conservation issues and to foster the long-term sustainability of these sites.
In 2010 Unesco New-Delhi coordinated a training programme for the existing guides in Ladakh. The programme however concentrated on imparting knowledge about Buddhism and the World Heritage Sites in the region. Need however was felt for training the guides in basic skills for heritage interpretation for guiding. Leh is a peculiar case where the guides sector is not organized and young graduates are joining the profession. They therefore form the right audience to influence to improve the level of guiding in India.
UNESCO therefore welcomed the collaboration of ViaVia Tourism Academy for the guides training program in Ladakh and use their experience in developing and implementing tailor-made training in tourist guiding in Ladakh, through their network of heritage experts.
The training would be at two levels, i.e. simultaneously two workshops were conducted, one for the trainers and second for the guides. They both were half day workshops for six days (simultaneously, first half and second half). Unesco recommended these two workshops as it would like to take the momentum created with guides last year forward and at the same time also train trainers so that follow-up workshops may take place beyond the sphere of our annual cycle.
Indian thematic aspects were delivered by our Indian counterparts whereas ViaVia Tourism Academy focused on expertise with regard to the components for how to interpret a site, do’s and don’ts for guiding, roles and competences of tourist guides, guides as important intermediaries between tourists, the sector and the local communities and environment,; intercultural competences, business opportunities and trends in tourist guiding; Tour management (pré-,on-, and post-tour), etc.

RESULTS & OUTCOMES The two tailor-made workshops were designed and implemented in 2011

CURRENT SITUATION & FUTURE Together with the consortium of partners we are looking for funds to continue the capacity-building process we have started.