How did you join the tourism and travel industry? I joined in 2004 as a ranger in Queen Elizabeth National Park. After paramilitary training, for three months, we were selected and I was chosen to become an interpreting guide for tourists. In 2005, I was transferred to Kyambura near Jakana Safari Lodge. A year later, I was transferred to Mweya and in the same year, transferred back to Kyambura still as an interpreting guide. Later, I was taken to Kibale National Park and Lake Mburo National Park for more training. What does your job entail as a tour guide? As a tour guide, I am supposed to drive tourists to different destinations, interpret and direct them accordingly to meet their interests. What are you happy about in the tourism sector and what do you think can be improved? There is peace and stability which allows and enables people to move to different tourism destinations. The infrastructure has been improved. We still have areas that need improvement. How has the covid-19 affected the way you do your job? Tourism has been hit hard. There have been so many cancellations of trips. We have been affected because our source of livelihood has been affected. Government needs to recognise our plight and come to our rescue as people who have contributed through giving the right information about our tourism destination. There are tour guides and operators who have not been diligent. Tourists send money to them but disappear because they didn’t book accommodation and gorilla permits for clients. We have seen guides and tour operators being aligned in court and at police stations. Government needs to come out and punish such people and companies who tarnish the name of this beautiful destination. As a guide and key person of contact with tourists, what is it that you give them to ensure that their stay in Uganda is memorable? During a game drive, when we make a sighting of an animal, I will give the right information about the respective animals. We are required to drive at a slow speed and not allowed to harass animals by hooting or shouting , it is a way of respecting them. When a client observes the respect for conservation and meeting all necessities, being punctual and polite, they will happily recommend you to others and perhaps write a good review on tripadvisor. When they share good memories of being in Uganda, I have done my job marketing my country as a good representative. As you go about your job, what feedback do you get from tourists while on excursion? They have expressed concern in regard to the talk of destroying Murchison Falls in order to construct a hydro power dam. We need electricity but at the same time we need to conserve and preserve Murchison in its natural state. Guides at first showed their dissatisfaction with the government wanting to destroy Murchison Falls and its beautiful gorge formation. What are the principles upon which you undertake your career and job expectations? I am an open minded person. I am respectful, orderly and follow rules and regulations at work. I share information with them and I love and are passionate about wildlife. What would you list as your achievement in the 16-year journey in the tourism sector? I have made friends, local and international. I have gained knowledge on wildlife which has boosted my passion for tourism. Materially, I have acquired land in Kampala and Mbarara. If I left tourism today, I will be grateful for service offered with Nkuringo and the other places where I have worked. What career advice or tips can you share with someone who is keen on joining the tourism and travel sector? Have love for tourism, do not to come with the intention of making money. Be hungry to acquire knowledge from those in the sector.
By: Cristopher CentersPosted on