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History

The very first Blue Badge Guides in Northern Ireland qualified in 1992, and the Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association was set up shortly after in the same year. The early training was facilitated by the Queen’s University of Belfast, and the course was accredited by the then Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The late Shona Kendrick (nee Blair) was instrumental in bringing the prestigious guiding qualification to Northern Ireland for the first time and was the Course Director 1991-1992.

In 2002, there was a strategic decision taken by government to set up an independent Institute to accredit the prestigious Blue Badge and the Institute of Tourist Guiding was born: http://www.itg.org.uk/. At that time the Scottish Tourist Board opted to stay involved in guide training, and after a process of negotiation to ensure that the training for the Blue Badge was of a comparable standard, Scotland set up their own Blue Badge Training. Guides in Northern Ireland, Wales, England, Isle of Man and Channel Islands became accredited via the Institute of Tourist Guiding.

The Blue Badge Course has been delivered serval times since the early nineties. In 2016-2017 NITGA for the first time in its history delivered the qualification and in June 2017 32 new Blue Badge Guides qualified.