The influence of women in ancient Egypt: Tour guiding curricula and the development of tour guiding competencies
Rady, Maged Mohamed Abdelhalim Mohamed
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Many tourism writers have described the tour guide as a front-line player in the tourism industry, responsible for the success of tour programmes. Tour guides, their competences and the higher education curricula to develop these competences are the focus of this study. The overall aims of the study are to enhance the tour guiding curricula in universities in Egypt to make Egyptian tour guides more professional and better able to perform the different roles assigned to them. Many tour guides in Egypt under-perform in their diverse roles as a direct result of the training programmes and the curricula designed for these programmes. The study commences with a critical review of literature which identifies the many roles that are performed by tour guides of which a key role is that of cultural brokerage, who mediate between different cultures. The research progressed in three stages. The first stage in the research involved email interviews with tour guiding professors in Egyptian universities about the techniques they use to teach students about interpretation of artifacts, such as scenes depicting women in Ancient Egypt, particularly in relation to cultural brokerage and the extent to which these techniques help to prepare students as prospective tour guides in relation to the key role of cultural broker. Potential Arab and British tourists were invited to comment on their preferred interpretations of the scenes. Women in ancient Egypt were selected as the focus of this part of the study to emphasize the challenges involved for tour guides in interpreting different cultural contexts for tourists. Contrasts were made between women in ancient Egypt, modern-day Egypt and other modern-day cultural contexts and this was considered as an example of how tour guide should perform different roles while interpreting. The second stage of the research involved a study of the European standards for the tour guiding profession and the various approaches adopted in the constituent countries of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to the design and delivery of tour guiding curricula. The research focused particularly on the Welsh and the Scottish tour guiding contexts because in both the training context for the cherished Blue Badge is a higher education institution, i.e. the situation is most similar to that in Egypt. This stage involved a questionnaire survey of Welsh and Scottish tour guides and interviews with the staff responsible for the design and delivery of the tour guiding curricula. Direct observation of continuing professional development provided by the Welsh Official Tour Guides Association was made and this allowed interaction with Welsh tour guides. The third stage of the research involved a detailed study of the Egyptian tour guide context and involved interviews with the professors of tour guiding departments in Egyptian universities, members of the Egyptian General Tourist Guides Syndicate and members of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association. As a result of this proposals were made for a new Egyptian tour guiding curriculum and these proposals were refined in the light of comments from the Egyptian stakeholders. The proposed curriculum resulted particularly from the analysis of the European standard for the tour guiding profession and the Welsh Blue Badge training programme. The main contribution of this study relates to an enhanced understanding of the different roles of tour guides and how the design of curricula for the tour guiding departments in Egyptian universities can improve the skills and competences of Egyptian tour guides in performing their expected roles, particularly the role of cultural broker.
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