From a press release by the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
A total of 50 Wildlife Guides completed course work on Customer Service, Interpretive Guide Training and a 10 part Online Course which educates and tests the guides on Wildlife Species I.D. Conservation and Business Planning.
According to the recent Economic Impact Study of Corpus Christi Tourism, 40% of leisure travel visits to Corpus Christi are nature based. As part of the Corpus Christi CVB’s ongoing Nature Tourism Initiative to inventory, catalogue, interpret, package and market these nature experiences, it became evident that visitors who paid for professional guide services needed to leave the area with a quality experience. After thorough research, the Corpus Christi CVB could not find a Wildlife Guide Certification program which focused on quality customer service, environmental issues, and wildlife identification, so they commissioned Miles Phillips with the Texas Agri LIFE Extension office to research and develop a certification course.
After 18 months of development, a classroom and online based curriculum was created to teach and test local guides.
Training emphasizes the importance of:
Importance of Quality Equipment a
Need for Insurance
Understanding of Tourism
Awareness of local, State, and National Resources
Knowledge of Native Wildlife & Habitat
Respect for the Environment
The course was then tested through a pilot program with 8 local fishing and hunting guides before being offered as a course. A total of 50 guides completed the 10 part online curriculum that was developed to allow guides to study in between trips at times that were convenient to them without interfering with their business. In addition to the online component, guides spent one day of classroom training with specialized instructors reviewing marketing and customer service skills. Fishing guides were asked to supply additional documentation such as their Texas Parks & Wildlife Guide License, U.S. Coast Guard License and proof of liability insurance. This type of documentation clearly sets the guides who pass the course apart from others allowing themselves to be marketed to our visitors as “Certified Wildlife Guides.”
The Corpus Christi CVB will work with the newly certified guides to market their services and unique specializations to drive nature tourists to the area. To apply for the course, guides are asked to contact Michelle Horine at 361-881-1818.”
AT is interested in any feedback from those of you familiar with this program, and will report updates in the future.