07 November 2016

RTA2016: New School for Tour Guides – Helping Indonesia’s Youth

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Last month we introduced our Buffalo Tours Responsible Travel Award winners and their innovative ideas for increasing our focus on responsible tourism. Today, we’ll be looking more deeply at the Indonesia team and their guide-training school.

The idea for the in-house guide training first came about in 2015 when Country Manager Peter Christiansen proposed the idea to his team. With Bali rising as one of our star destinations, product launches and increasing numbers meant the idea was shelved, but not forgotten:

More than a year ago we discussed the future of tourism in Indonesia and the huge potential it has to become a great tourism destination. This potential, combined with the young and energetic team in our office, and the positivity they offer when coming to work is a powerful mixture. Then we thought, ‘how can we transfer this enthusiasm to our tour guides?’ So we started exploring several opportunities and the ideas kept coming for different Responsible Tourism Projects. Being in dire need of good tour guides, we finally came up with the “Destination Ambassador” program. On Monday the 31 Oct. we started our first class of future Buffalo Tours “Destination Ambassadors”. As much a win for Buffalo Tours as it is for the young people joining the program”

-Peter Christiansen, Country Manager

Buffalo Tours' Indonesia Tour Guides- Responsible Travel UpdateBut when the Buffalo Tours Responsible Travel Awards (RTA2016) was launched internally in March 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit the idea. The team in Indonesia, including staff from the operations and business development teams worked hard to develop the concept and to create a curriculum that could see their idea become a reality.

After months of anticipation the awards were presented at the Annual General Meeting in Hoi An and funds were distributed to Indonesia and their fellow winners in Cambodia.

It was now time to get to the hard part; sourcing Trainers and Students. The team turned to social media, a huge source of opportunities for young people in Indonesia, and took a good look at their current staff to find those who truly fit their vision. They wanted teachers who were passionate experts in their field and students who were eager to take full advantage of the opportunity.

A Senior Guide at Buffalo Tours was chosen alongside a Tourism Management Lecturer from a local university.  In collaboration with these trainers, The British Institute in Bali will be providing Professional English Training for the students alongside the guide curriculum. Of the 25 applicants for the course, 9 final students were selected, all from marginalised and disadvantage backgrounds.

Throughout October the team have been training the teachers and on October 31st an introduction session was held. Lessons start officially today, November 7th, and everyone is incredibly excited to get started.

The students will learn theory for 3 months and then spend 3 months practicing on the ground with Buffalo Tours, before receiving their final guide license. During the course, Buffalo Tours will be sponsoring them with pocket money, learning materials, license fees, accommodation and the aforementioned English lessons.

We look forward to following the progress of this initiative and will be providing regular updates to our partners and customers. Training highly qualified guides, as well as supporting our local communities with innovative projects, is a high priority for Buffalo Tours. If you have any questions, feedback or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

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