Sharjah's tourism regulator has come up with a set of sweeping guidelines in managing the tour guide profession in the emirate. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority will oversee and managing tour guides in the emirate, offering training and refresher courses with a clear breakdown of fees.

The Authority is also entitled to suspend or revoke a permit in case of violations, and has been tasked with examining relevant regulations in other emirates to hold accountable any individual practising the profession without the needed permits, said the regulator. The new amendments from Sharjah Executive Council on tour guides “come at the perfect time as the domestic tourism sector is enjoying a notable boom and the post-pandemic recovery continues to gain traction, promising even greater numbers of visitors in the stages ahead,” said Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA.

The decision prohibits any entity or organisation from employing tour guides who are not in possession of a valid permit issued by SCTDA. It outlines a set of conditions an individual must meet to obtain a tour guide permit. Candidates must be over 18 years, speak at least Arabic and English, and pass the training programmes set by the Authority.

The tour guide license is valid for one year and is renewable after passing the refresher course, which SCTDA will be offering yearly. Failure to renew the license for a period exceeding two years will render the license void, and the candidate will need to obtain a new permit. (UAE citizens, children of Emirati mothers and Sharjah Government employees are exempt from fees on licenses and training programmes for tour guides offered by the SCTDA.)

The tasks assigned to tour guides include promoting a positive image of the emirate, mitigating any risks that visitors may face, complying with a strict code of professional and behavioural conduct, and abiding by all regulations issued by the Authority.