A new school for tourist guides opened this month in Rethymno, Crete, as part of the Tourism Ministry’s efforts to upgrade tourism training and education.
Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas together with Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yiannis Kefalogiannis, and of Rethymno Mayor George Marinakis inaugurated the Rethymno Tourist Guide School during a two-day visit to Crete this month.
Set to open in November and offer courses in Greek culture and history, among others, the school is located in Agios Andreas in a newly renovated building provided by the Rethymno Municipality.
“The establishment and operation of a school for tourist guides in Rethymno is a sign of reform with a view to the future,” said Konsolas, adding that it “establishes the dominant presence of Crete on the map of tourism education”.
The minister added that the educational institution is part of a far-reaching plan to modernize the ministry’s tourism education structures.
While on Crete, Konsolas also visited the Institute of Vocational Tourism Training (IEK) in Heraklion and the Advanced Schools of Tourist Education (ASTE) of Crete at Agios Nikolaos, where he discussed ministry plans for the upgrade of tourism education, adding that it will provide added value to the sector.
“In order to be one step ahead of the big changes that are coming in tourism, to be connected to the needs of the market, to bring to the forefront executives of the future,” he said.
Today, tourist guide schools in Athens and Thessaloniki already offer full training programs. New educational institutes providing tourist guide studies have now opened in Rethymno, Crete; on Corfu for the Ionian Islands Region; and on Rhodes for the South Aegean Region.
“With this school and by supporting tourism education we are safeguarding tourist guides’ rights,” said Konsolas, adding that in this way the ministry acknowledges guides’ key role in conveying Greek ideas, culture, traditions, gastronomy, architecture and history to foreign visitors.
Lastly, speaking during the event, Kefalogiannis announced the creation of a committee under the education ministry which will assess all requests for the establishment of tourism training departments and schools. He expressed his optimism that Rethymno will soon become the heart of tourism education nationwide.