x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Meet the Emirati tourist guides of tomorrow

Emirati students are taking part in a summer programme designed to teach them about the growing tourist industry in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // A three-week summer camp is inspiring the next generation of Emirati tourism workers.

About 60 Emirati boys and girls aged between 15 and 17 are taking part in the camp, which teaches them about the social, economic and environmental effects of the tourist trade on the emirate.

"You are the next generation of tourism ambassadors for Abu Dhabi," said Fatima Al Mehli, industry awareness executive at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

"During the coming weeks you'll discover the breadth and outreach of the tourism industry, and the future career paths open to you. Please make the most of this opportunity to learn and to also have fun in what should be an unforgettable and enriching summer."

The camp, which began on Sunday, teaches the students team-building and interpersonal skills to complement their studies. It also takes them on field trips to Yas Island, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Zayed Centre, Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey, St Regis Saadiyat Island and the Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition centre.

"So far I am having fun and have gained a lot of knowledge," said Abdulla Zoghbor, 15, from Al Ain, who said he was now considering a career in tourism.

"My mum first got word about the programme and she said it would be a great thing to do to learn about our cultural traditions. It is a great opportunity for me and I have already learnt a lot of things about Abu Dhabi that I did not know before.

"Here in Abu Dhabi we have more attractions bringing people to the city. We are a multicultural society that is bringing people from all over the world to our country."

Sara Saif Al Mazrruie, 15, from Ras Al Khaimah, is also now considering a tourism career.

"I especially would like to be a tour guide and present my country to visitors and take them to many places," she said.

She saw an advert for the summer camp and emailed the organisers asking to join.

"We first had a workshop in the Yas Rotana Hotel, it was an introduction to tourism and the sector. We were taught by a lecturer from the European International College," said Sara.

"We learned about business and cultural communication and then we had a tour of major places in Yas Island like Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and the Yas Links.

"In each place some of the staff talked to us about what they do, such as tours of the hotels and how many tourists come to them," she said.

"I think we must promote the heritage and traditions and culture of the emirate in tourism and I think that people here must support the process to promote the emirate as a successful destination."

ksinclair@thenational.ae