UNESCO Heritage Guide training enhances professional skills of guides at My Son World Heritage site
My Son, 9 August 2011 – UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide Programme was officially launched at the My Son World Heritage Site. Twenty participants attended the five-day programme, which aims to teach guides to provide the highest level of visitor experience, raise awareness about conservation issues and foster the long-term sustainability of heritage sites such as My Son. Supported by UNESCO Ha Noi, this training is part of a larger project to promote sustainable tourism at Quang Nam’s My Son and Hoi An World Heritage sites and Cham Island Biosphere Reserve.
To raise the professional capacity of guides at heritage sites, particularly, World Heritage Sites, the UNESCO-ICCROM Asian Academy for Heritage Management developed the Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide Programme in 2005. Following a successful piloting phase in Viet Nam in 2010, the programme was adapted for guides at the My Son and Hoi An World Heritage Sites.
Heritage guides are an essential part of sustainable tourism development as they play an important role in educating the visitors about the authentic values of site and codes of responsible conduct. At the opening of My Son course, Nguyen Cong Huong, Director of the My Son Management Board said “if the guides are able to convey the true values of heritage to visitors, it will be one of the most meaningful contributions to the preservation and promotion of heritage values for all communities and visitors”.
The course structure consists of lectures, practice sessions at sites and oral and written tests. Participants receive lectures on history, culture, archaeology, and heritage conservation and restoration from university instructors in relevant fields. Attendees are also given the opportunity to meet with restoration experts who work with UNESCO at My Son so that they can better understand and relay details of the site’s restoration to the public.
Participant Tran Tra of Da Nang, commended the programme’s content and alignment with the global World Heritage site framework and said that the course “provides the experienced guides with a more comprehensive approach to guiding at Heritage sites. The training not only builds capacity for guides but also helps to enhance tourists’ experience and contribute to the preservation of heritages and tourism resources”.
A second course will take place at My Son from 11-15 August and a course for Hoi An heritage guides is planned for September. Quang Nam has requested UNESCO’s support to extend the training to guides at the Cham Island Biosphere Reserve. Provincial authorities have stated their plans to make this training a compulsory qualification for all guides at heritage sites in Quang Nam.
For more information on the programme, please contact:
Pham Thi Thanh Huong
National Programme Officer in Culture
UNESCO Ha Noi
Tel: (84-4) 7470275 (Ext 26)
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