Fáilte Ireland held the first in a series of networking events for student Tour Guides at Athlone IT on Thursday, 16th January.

The event was part of the National Tourism Development Authority’s commitment to encourage and promote careers in the tourism industry.

The networking event was attended by over 100 education professionals and students who are completing courses in tour guiding, or doing degrees in tourism. Representatives attended from Galway Roscommon Education Board, Cork Education Board, Tipperary Education Board, Limerick Clare Education Board and Limerick IT. Presentations included an overview of the industry and discussions on the career and employment options available.

Tour guides are often the first local people with whom visitors interact in their tourism experience, and Fáilte Ireland works with educational institutions throughout the country to ensure that tour guides are experts in their area.

Many of the students in attendance have already gained experience as tour guides, while others are taking the first steps in their tourism career.

Paul Hayden, Head of Tourism Careers at Fáilte Ireland, said: “The event is intended to bring together key industry stakeholders, education providers and current tour guide students who are studying the National Tour Guide programme and the Regional Tour Guide programme to provide an understanding of the industry and the career options available.”

Ruth Andrews, Chief Executive of the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA), said: “This is a super opportunity for new and trainee guides to connect with leading tour operators, gain valuable insights into their businesses, and take the first steps in a successful and exciting guiding career.”

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