Kosovo, the youngest country in Europe which declared independence in 2008, has not had qualified tourist guides for a long time like other European countries. The first training courses for the qualification of tourist guides started in 2006 resulting in the first generation of Kosovo tourist guides. However the organization of tourist guides under the single umbrella of an association did not happen until 2018 when a group of 8 tourist guides established GUIDEKS. Now, in 2021, the association has over 70 members spread across the different municipalities of the country.
The headquarters of the organization is in the capital of Kosovo: Rexhep Mala str., No.28A 10000, Prishtina.
Our primary mission is the development of tourism in Kosovo through the promotion of qualified tourist guides.
To achieve our mission we carry out a range of promotional activities that promote Kosovo as a tourist destination; promoting natural heritage and environmental protection in Kosovo; promoting the protection of heritage and cultural diversity in Kosovo; promoting the professional skills and knowledge of our members; promoting the profession of guide to the younger generations; continuously developing the professional capabilities of guides through various forms of education/training; providing assistance and consultancy to national and international tour operators; conducting various thematic research into the function of the tourism sector and other topics that are related to tourism; advocacy for market regulation and the protection of the guiding profession in Kosovo; last but not least, cooperating with central and local institutions and other strategic national and international partners in the field of tourism.
Unfortunately, in Kosovo there is still no official training programme and curriculum for achieving a qualification as a tourist guide. This issue is not yet regulated within the Law on Tourism of the country as tourism is not yet ranked high in the development priorities. The current qualification of Tourist Guides is done through tailored training courses and projects that are given periodically by local or international organizations funded by the EU, UNDP, The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) PPSE, USAID, GIZ, etc.
The duration of the training differs according to the organization or the donor. Part of the training is testing fluency in at least one foreign language including in practical guiding situations.
As a pioneer organization in Kosovo, GUIDEKS has started communicating with FEG in order to start and promote courses for tourist guides which will be recognized by the relevant institutions of Kosovo.
Since in Kosovo we have an unregulated market of tourist guides, there is no defined process for maintenance of their qualification.
For the time being the certification of the tourist guides is done through the organizations that offer the training, while the badges used by the qualified tourist guides that are part of our association are as follows:
Our association has over 70 members of which half are qualified tourist guides. Within the organization we also have new members who are tourism enthusiastsand we try to support them with activities to develop their knowledge and skills.
Most of our members do not practice the profession of guide as a primary profession. They work in a diverse range of professions such as architects, economists, linguists, etc.
GUIDEKS has not yet formalized the provision of services and training in this area as it is working with relevant institutions to officialise the basic training for tourist guides in the country.
Our members have received training on various topics in recent years, thanks to our FEG membership, such as: video editing training, social media training and Dark Tourism training.
Qualified tourist guides are always your best choice to ensure you getprofessional services, saving you time and using their local knowledge to help you experience the authentic culture of the area. Also accessing a wide range of sites and monuments is very easy when planning your tour with tourist guides.
Here are some of the quick tips and trips you should not miss:
Soak up the café culture in Prishtina – the Kosovar capital may be slightly shambolic, but has a young, vibrant atmosphere.
Get active in the Rugova Valley – the peaks of the Accursed Mountains are ripe for snowshoeing, hiking and paragliding.
Pay your respects at 12th century Gracanica Monastery, daubed with incredible Byzantine frescoes.
Stroll the streets of historic Prizen, an evocative hub of well-preserved Ottoman architecture lining narrow cobbled alleys.
Hike out into the Dragesh Valley to explore the towering mountains and traditional villages where locals use horse carts and serve up tasty fresh cheeses.
Eat your fill in foodie haven Gjakova, home to a restored mosque, madrasa and old market, as well as some of the country’s best restaurants.
Walk into the forests of Decani Canyon to find 14th century Decani Monastery, a superbly situated showpiece of Orthodox art.
Throughout history, the strategic location of this territory has made it an enviable possession for many rulers, most of whom have contributed to its cultural diversity. Since antiquity, many roadshave passed through the region, connecting inland areas to the coast, boosting commerce and nourishing the growth of local craftsmanship.
Close to the Adriatic coast, well connected to both the southern and northern parts of the Balkan peninsula, Kosovo has great potential for tourism. The untouched scenery of the Sharri and Rugova mountains and beautiful waterfalls and rivers are year-round attractions. Ancient ruins, medieval churches and castles, Ottoman townhouses, and Austro-Hungarian buildings make up a large part of the country’s cultural heritage. Almost as mixed as the architectural landscape is the culture of the country. Influenced by 500 years of Ottoman rule, an “oriental” flair marks most of the bazaars in Kosovo and especially the old town of Prizren.
Finally, Kosovars are particularly proud of their traditions of hospitality; guests in a Kosovo home are treated with the highest honour. Always ready to offer help, a cup of coffee or a free meal, Kosovar hosts will guarantee a great trip.
The best way to reach our qualified guides is through our website https://guideks.org/ under “Find Your Guide” section in the homepage. On our web page you can find all other information about our association and various articles about Kosovo too.