| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The tour guide training program for disabled people :
Jongno-gu first sought an education institute qualified to train people with hearing or visual impairment and scheduled to create teaching materials. When briefing teachers of special schools about the plan, their reactions were skeptical, commenting that there is almost no chance of success despite good intentions. They said this project must be needed but the impracticalities. However, an NGO named The Rediscovery of Korea showed its willingness to join the training program based on its experience in producing non-disabled tour guides.
The tour guide training program kicked off :
Jongno-gu created a tour guide training program for people with hearing or visual impairment, and a total of 32 applicants (13 the visual impaired and 19 the hearing impaired) signed up for the training. The training course is composed of three sessions: theory and practice, advanced course and actual job performance for monitoring and delivered through 27 classes (excluding the time for manual composition), taking 146 hours. The course started with the first class introducing cultural artifacts on March 8, 2011. The teaching materials were tailored according to the types and degrees of disability among trainees.
ⓐ Theory and practice at tour sites
Teaching materials were prepared in braille and large print for blind and visually impaired trainees, respectively, while audio materials were offered to blind trainees who cannot read braille. Trainees were escorted to tour sites by instructors (one instructor per two trainees) and instructed to develop a precise sense of touch for the things they learned in class. Two sign language interpreters and mentors assisted visually impaired trainees in taking in-class lectures and field trips and answering queries from trainees. Pictures were widely used for hearing impaired trainees whose reading ability is low despite good eyesight. The theory and practice session was completed by tests that were conducted verbally for visually impaired trainees and in writing for hearing impaired trainees. Trainees who passed the test undertook the advanced course.
ⓑ Advanced course
Trainees were classified into different groups depending on their test results and tour sites. A total of 5 tour sites were chosen as workplaces for the trainees, and each trainee was assigned to one of the sites. Following this, the trainees augmented their knowledge of the allocated tour sites and their skills as a tour guide during the 6-class advanced course. As an assignment, the trainees were required to design and create a tour guide manual on their own.
ⓒ Assessment of work performance
The advanced course was completed by guiding an actual tour using a manual created in class at tour sites. Visually or hearing impaired guests were invited as tourists, and they provided feedback on the guide performance of the trainees.
Tours guided by disabled people in Jongno-gu :
A total of 16 trainees (5 visually impaired and 11 hearing impaired) completed the advanced course, and they now work as tour guides at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine and Bukchon Hanok Village. They are the first disabled tour guides in Korea.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Intersectoral collaboration :
Collaboration with an NGO was one of the main keys to the success of the tour guide training program.
ⓐ Jongno-gu: Jongno-gu recruited trainees, provided administrative support to have the training program delivered as planned, and evaluated the outcomes for future trainings, in addition to funding the first training course.
ⓑ The Rediscovery of Korea: This NGO is engaged in a variety of activities to inform clients about the history and culture of Korea in an easy and user-friendly manner. This NGO played diverse roles in the training program through overseeing trainees, recruiting lecturers, creating the curriculum, operating classes and field trips, arranging tests and developing manuals.
ⓒ Nowon Welfare Center for the Visually Impaired and Silroam Braille Library: These intersectoral partners provided teaching materials, including enlarged print textbooks and braille and audio books, and supplied helpers for the field trips of visually impaired trainees. They also built a website to promote the training program.
ⓓ Cultural Heritage Administration: This unit allowed field trips and the free entry of the trainees and accompanying tourists anytime when the trainees visited the tour sites for practice sessions and actual work performance.
ⓔ Korean Deaf Association: The association provided sign language interpretation and promoted the training program among its members for their participation.
ⓕ Korea Tourism Organization and Hanyang University Tourism R&D Center: These units were jointly responsible for providing financial resources for the 2nd training course.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Financial resources :
Jongno-gu allocated a budge of KR30 million to launch and operate the tour guide training programs in 2011.
In 2014, the Korea Tourism Organization and Hanyang University Tourism R&D Center funded KR18 million as part of the intersectoral collaboration for the launch of the training program for the second time.
Human resources involved :
Individuals involved in the program from March 1 to July 28, 2012 reached nearly 500, including 5 consultants involved in creating teaching materials.
Involvement included 11 lecturers for theoretical education and 88 lecturers for field education for practical experience and the advanced course, 110 helpers assisting trainees at sites and 140 tourists invited as guest tourists who evaluated the job performance of trained guides. One lecturer was assigned to two visually impaired trainees whereas one lecturer was assigned to 10 hearing impaired trainees.
Developments of teaching materials and assistive devices :
- Enlarged print textbooks, braille and audio books
※ Audio books were replaced with audio readers for the 2nd training course in 2014.
- Braille maps to improve understanding of visually impaired trainees on tour routes.
- The maps were created in 2013 to help visually impaired trainees understand the overall landscape structure of tour sites, and trainees were required to be familiar with tour routes in advance.
Raise Fund on internet portal site ‘ Daum’ :
- Disabled Tour Guides tried to let people know their starting and activities. So they planned to raise the fund for publicity events through funding program on the internet.
They really hoped even the non-disabled people know their discomforts moving and feeling inside tourist attractions and wanted to draw the understanding from the non-disabled about the need of the disability-tailed services and activities of disabled tour guides.
At last they`ve got one million from funding program and held events to promote the program. Actually they want to be a part of this program actively.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
a. Inclusion of people with disabilities in tourism is expected to rise :
Currently, around 1,000 tourists use the guided tours provided by the trained guides, with an increasing number of tourists using the services. They visit a greater number of tourist attractions for sightseeing while tourists encounter a new experience with tour guides who have the same disability as they do. Disabled tourists are likely to enjoy the tour as the guidance is easy to understand and they are given enough time to touch the objects they encounter and to appreciate all the stimuli presented during tour, feeling open and relaxed.
b. Development of tour guide manuals :
The tour guide manuals that were created by trainees will be updated for the use of trainees in the second training course. Separately, a disabled-friendly manual was also developed to help disabled tourists understand and feel the surrounding environment through their senses of touch, hearing and small, in addition to the other actions they are capable of. The tour guide manuals are being used by trainees in the second training course.
c. Job creations for disabled people :
This training program can lead to more job creation for those with hearing or visual impairment.
Tour guides with a disability have the potential to provide more disabled-friendly guiding services to disabled tourists while their services can attract non-disabled tourists as well.
When they have enough work experience as tour guides, they can extend into lecturing and other job categories.
d. The healing effect of the training program :
People with acquired visual impairment reportedly have a higher risk of developing stress and depression. They are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide.
A young man with acquired vision loss and his sister took the guide service provided by a trained guide. His sister was concerned about the isolated life of her brother because he stayed home all the time. He was touched by the tour guide; his bravery in overcoming his disability and his work as an active member of society was impressive and encouraging.
In another case, an elementary school student attracted attention when helping her hearing impaired mother. Interpreting for her mother is not always simple for a child. However, she felt comfortable when experiencing the guide service provided by a hearing impaired tourist because she did not need to interpret. She even enjoyed using sign language with other tourists.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
a. Progress monitoring :
Once the training program was launched, the progress made by the trainees was monitored in multiple stages. The first assessment was made by certain employees of Jongno-gu District Office and lecturers in terms of attendance, learning attitude and test results. The second assessment was based on the tour guide manual that each trainee created during the advanced course. The third assessment took place at tour sites where trainees performed guide services, and lecturers and invited disabled tourists evaluated their work performance.
b. Monitoring of the guide services :
While working as tour guides, the trained guides are required to attend the advanced courses scheduled 3 to 4 times a year to update the guiding content, and their services are also evaluated by tourists.
Evaluation is conducted using texts because a questionnaire cannot be completed by disabled tourists. Trained guides are instructed to improve their services if they receive lower scores in the evaluation, and their certificate is revoked if their work performance remains poor. Trained guides can work as tour guides by submitting an applicant to the responsible employee of Jongno-gu District Office and must submit photos taken as evidence of services rendered; the daily fee is paid to them based on the evidence. One visually impaired trained guide was fired because he submitted fake evidence.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
a. A lack of trust toward national disability services :
It was not easy to attract the attention of disabled people to the training program because of their generally cynical attitude toward disability services. However, Jongno-gu kept up its efforts to convince them of the direction and prospects of the project.
b. A lack of aid from the central government agencies: The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) :
Jongno-gu found the estimated costs for the training program for disabled people were three times higher than costs for a similar training program for non-disabled people.
Jongno-gu therefore requested a subsidy available from the MCST for the wellbeing of disabled people but the MCST did not agree to the need for such a training program and refused aid. The CHA also did not consider the training program necessary for disabled people because of possible accidents to tour guides at tour sites and the interruption to tours of non-disabled tourists as their excuse.
Jongno-gu invited employees of CHA as lecturers for the training and class viewers.
The CHA now assists Jongno-gu in promoting the training program via its website. The CHA allows trainees to visit tour sites that are not open to the public in an attempt to support
the training program.
c. A lack of budget for the training program :
The training program requires much funding to finance custom teaching materials, 1:1 lessons, lecturer payroll, sign language interpretation, accessible lecture rooms and assistants. Jongno-gu didn`t have enough money at that time. Fortunately, Silroam Braille Library created teaching materials for almost nothing and lecturers and sign language interpreters accepted low pay. Welfare Center for the Visually Impaired sent volunteers to help trainees. As a result, the program was done with one third of the costs Jongno-gu initially estimated.