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Newtownabbey tour guides gain industry qualification

Over 20 tour guides recently graduated in the first ever professional Belfast Green Badge qualification, a new programme that covers the vast wealth of the city’s long history and modern attractions.

Among the 24 were Gillian Lyster from Jordanstown, Desmond Campbell from Fortwilliam and Katya Brown from Newtownabbey.

Joining other major cities like London, Liverpool and York, these guides are ready to deliver walking tours for the influx of visitors due to arrive this summer with an expected 130 cruise ships coming in.

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The Belfast Green Badge programme was developed and run by the Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association (NITGA) with a special new badge created that displays an outline of Belfast City Hall.

Gillian, Desmond and Katya

Chair of NITGA Catherine Burns explained: “Belfast has such a wealth of history and culture that we felt it was important to focus on the city and develop a pool of highly experienced, professional guides who have an understanding of all aspects of life in Northern Ireland’s capital.

“The Green Badge not only offers a deep insight into the past and present of Belfast but also trains the new guides in the specialised craft of leading a group and delivering information that’s engaging and entertaining.”

The new guides are well versed in the city’s architecture and arts, gardens and parks, economy and industry, history and the Troubles, as well as all the sites of Northern Ireland film and TV productions like Game of Thrones.

The Green Badge course, created and delivered by Catherine and course director Petra Hermann along with a team of professional trainers, involved a mix of classroom learning, self-study and practical sessions on location.

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