8 February 2006
Foreign tourists from Europe and Asia will no longer have to struggle with language barriers when visiting Mpumalanga.
Thirty-three black local tour guides have been trained to speak French, and will next be learning Chinese, German and Portuguese.
“Research found that the majority of our tourists speak French and it is more accommodating if their hosts speak a familiar language,” said spokesperson for the province’s department of economic development and planning, Smanga Shongwe.
He said only black registered tour guides had been selected for the course and that they all came from the Kruger National Park.
“We only chose black guides because we want to increase the role played by black tour guides in the tourism industry,” he explained.
Alliance Française teachers who gave lessons in White River and Secunda taught the guides basic French. The guides attended 80 hours of training during November last year.
Alliance Française, the world’s largest French teaching centre, was established in 1883 in Paris, France.
It has over 1 000 schools in 134 countries, serving over 350 000 students.
The National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the French Embassy are co-funding the French teaching programme for tour guides in South Africa.