Tour guide

Tour guide

A tour guide is a person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area, which person normally possesses a specific area qualification usually issued and/or recognised by the appropriate authority [EN 13809:2003]

Tour guides are representatives of the cities, regions and countries for which they are qualified. Guides help travellers understand the culture of the region visited and the way of life of its inhabitants. They have a particular role on the one hand to promote the cultural and natural heritage whilst on the other hand to help ensure its sustainability by making visitors aware of its importance and vulnerability.

A tour guide is a person who leads groups of people around a town, museum, or other tourist venue. The tourist guide provides a commentary on the features and history of the location, the tours can be from as little as 10-15 minutes to extended periods over many days. Considerable importance is placed on the guide's knowledge of local stories, history and culture depending on the location of the tour

A guide who works at a particular location, such as a museum, may be called a docent and may provide entertaining, relevant, organized and themed heritage interpretation. The role consists of leading groups of visitors around cultural, environmentally, or previously arranged attractions in significant places.

Tour managers lead groups as part of a package holiday into countries where they speak a different language, they act as interpretors for the group and as representatives of the holiday company. Importance is placed on the guides knowledge of the languages, travel documentation requirements and cultural differences.

"Tour guides" are referred to as "tourist guides" in certain countries like Singapore and South Africa.

Legal foundation

Particularly in southern European countries, being a tour guide is considered to be traditional and prestigious. Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Cyprus have strict national laws concerning the tour guide profession. Only officially certified tour guides, educated along national guidelines, may commercially guide tourists. Violations of this principle will be brought before national courts and penalized with fines. []

Since 2007 there has been much controversy about such national restrictions. At the core of the conflict is the EU Directive for Professional Qualifications, which aims to eradicate obstacles for free moving service providers and clarify professional standards. [] Austria and Italy among others refuse to adapt the directive and hold on to their national laws, based on the protection of local tour guides and national touristic quality guidelines.

External links

* [ World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations]


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