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Written Answers - Tourism Industry

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 555.  Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  the standards in place for tour guides offering free tours here; if there are any regulations in place for the operation of foreign companies and personnel in the tour guiding sector here; and if a proper distinction must be established between information and education tours and what may be described as entertainment tours. [6308/12]

 556.  Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  if the Government body for educating tour guides will continue in this role and if not, whether it is proposed that some other body will take its place; and his views of the possibility of introducing a diploma for tour guides. [6309/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 555 and 556 together.

There are no legislative provisions governing operations and standards in the tour guiding sector in Ireland. Like the provision of any other service, the consumer is protected by consumer protection legislation.

Fáilte Ireland operates a number of Tour Guide Training Programmes — A National Tour Guide Training programme certified by HETAC at Level 7 and a Dublin and Environs Tour Guide Training Programme certified by FETAC at Level 6. Tour Guides who successfully complete one of these programmes as well as completing a specified number of tours, which must be evaluated by a tour operator or employer, and who hold a current Occupational First Aid Certificate can become a Fáilte Ireland Approved Guide and apply for a Fáilte Ireland Tour Guide Badge.

I am satisfied that these programmes and the qualifications awarded are sufficient not only to provide participants with the communication and information skills necessary to offer a [551]quality tourist guiding service, but also to reassure the tourist as to the quality of the service on offer. The operation of these training programmes is a day-to-day matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have asked the agency to advise the Deputy of its future plans for these programmes. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.


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