The very first Blue Badge Guides in Northern Ireland qualified in 1992, and NITGA, the Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association, was founded in the same year. The early training was facilitated by Queen’s University 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 (ITG) was set up: http://www.itg.org.uk/. At that time the Scottish and Welsh 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 standardised, both set up their own Blue Badge Training. Guides in Northern Ireland, England, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands became accredited via the Institute of Tourist Guiding.
The Blue Badge Course has been delivered several times since the early nineties. In 2016-2017 NITGA delivered the qualification for the first time in its history, and 36 new Blue Badge Guides qualified.
Irish National and Regional Badge training was delivered by Fáilte Ireland until 2015 and is now conducted by Regional Colleges.
NITGA ran Northern Ireland’s first White Badge trining Course at Clifton House with 15 guides qualifying in 2019.
In 2018, NITGA became a Company Limited by Guarantee. The Company Registration Number is NI652499.
In 2020, the first ever Green Badge course in Northern Ireland commenced. This course is for the City of Belfast.