Thematic Tours – Interpretation Training


Wise Steps Travel, 21.04.2019

Have you ever joined or thinking about joining a thematic tour on your vacation?

Thematic tours are itineraries designed around one specific topic such as weaving, architecture or history. Generally, these tours can also be called “Special Interest Tours”. In a world with a much more customized tourism sector, these experiences cater to individual needs instead of following a mainstream approach.

One of the reasons why we started our social travel enterprise Wise Steps Travel in 2017 was, to create responsible and educational thematic journeys. With more than 17,000 islands, a very rich cultural diversity and incredible biodiversity, Indonesia is the perfect destination to develop and host thematic tours ranging from biology, geology, culture, ancient tribes, history, architecture, anthropology and much more.

Despite this great potential, there have been very few attempts at designing and operating thematic journeys in Indonesia. One reason for that might be the interdisciplinary skillset (i.e. tourism and geology) that is needed to arrange and deliver these programs at high-quality standards.

As a company, we also started to design and inspect thematic journeys and day trips in several destinations in Indonesia. However, very soon it became absolutely clear, that the success of these thematic experiences is highly depending on how they are delivered to the travelers. So basically, next to crafting, organizing and arranging tours the most essential part of the journey is the person that is leading and presenting the thematic tour. Intentionally, we don’t call this person a tour guide, because that would not be accurate. Tour guides usually possess the soft skills, organizational skills, language skills, and presentational skills to lead a group through the destination. With good general knowledge about local culture, traditions, history and other facts that usually will satisfy the tourist’s expectation.

When talking about special interest tours, we have to assume that travelers already arrive with very profound knowledge on the topic. Consequently, the expectations toward the tours and the in-depth knowledge of the tour leader are considerably high. The implication for the person who delivers that experience is, therefore, to be basically an expert on his / her field while at the same time mastering the skills of a tour guide. People with that combined skill set are actually very rare, which is why we decided to be proactive and invested in educational training that fits this purpose.

As one of Wise Steps Travel’s social commitments, together with Jagaddhita Consultancy, we have organized and sponsored a two days Training and Workshop on Interpretation in Bandung. Together we selected 12 motivated individuals (some experts on their fields and some still learning) and invited them to join a workshop that trains their interpretive skills hosted by one of the leading experts on interpretation, Mrs. Wiwien T. Wiyonoputri. In the course of this workshop, she successfully trained all participants in the essential skills of interpretation, starting from building interesting storylines and products, via conducting a qualitatively relevant tour until working on the skills to deliver the presentation to the travelers in an engaging and meaningful way with the target of high visitor satisfaction.

Due to the success of our first Interpretation Training and Workshop, Wise Steps Travel is committed to holding a similar training regularly in the future. We do believe that the interpretative skills will benefit local tour guides as much as it will create meaningful, interesting and educational experiences for our travelers, that have the chance to really gain insights and knowledge about Wonderful Indonesia and all its diversity.

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