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Training ecotour guides in developing countries: lessons learned from Panama's first guides course
journal contributionposted on 2017-06-05, 03:21 authored by Weiler, Betty, Ham, Sam
"Ecotourism" is increasing throughout the world, and in particular in less developed countries where it is seen as a strategic force for sustainable development. Although competent guides are widely agreed to play a pivotal role in this process, little systematic research has been undertaken to understand the process of competency development. This paper reports on an on-going research project that is monitoring the development, delivery and outcomes of training programs for ecotour guides in developing countries. It presents the fmdings of this first phase of the research in the form of "lessons learned" from the interpretive guiding component of a six-week training program conducted in April and May, 1999 in Panama. The context of the course is presented first, followed by a description of the qualitative and quantitative methods used to assess the training. The findings are presented in the form of five lessons learned and their possible implications for guide training in developing countries.