In accordance with the WFTGA definition of 2003 (Scotland Convention), a Tourist Guide is “a person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area for which the person normally possesses an area-specific qualification, usually issued and/or recognized by the appropriate authority.” Basically, Private Guides accompany tourists on trips, tours and cruises, providing them with appropriate and interesting information, helping them with problem-solving, and entertaining them throughout their stay (whether cultural, sport or other kind), etc.

If you are looking for a new and interesting profession, you should consider becoming a Private Tour Guide.  The following is some important information to help you make that decision.

Skills Required:

To become a private guide, you should know your country very well, including its history, culture, traditions, architectural, etc.  You should also be good at foreign languages, as it is necessary to communicate with people from different countries. Usually, it is sufficient to know only English in addition to your mother tongue.  However,  other languages would be an additional advantage.  Furthermore, you should be able to talk coherently, possess good presentation skills, and be able to express a thought in an easily accessible form.

Moreover, as Private Guide, you must be in love with your work! It can be difficult for some people to tell the same story many times with the sale level of enthusiasm. So, you should be prepared. For some tours, medical knowledge and first aid skills are strongly required.  Sometimes a group of tourists may remain in complete isolation in such places as mountains, jungles or deserts.  As a result, Guides must be able to provide first aid, measure blood pressure, and help with various injuries. In addition, basic knowledge of psychology will also help.

Character Traits:

If you decide to become a Private Tour Guide, the most important character traits to possess are friendliness, civility, tolerance, patience and the ability to communicate. Such things as wit and resourcefulness are also extremely useful, as tourists can ask some tricky and unexpected questions. After all, without wit and a good sense of humor, it can be hard to stay calm in such a situation.   

How to Become a Private Tour Guide:

You can learn the basics of the profession in specialized courses or schools.  Usually, such schools are connected with the Ministry of Tourism in the country of residence, and they typically provide their students with government-type licenses and certificates. It is possible to search for a desirable tour guide association in your country though the Worldwide Federation of Tour Guides Association or the European Federation, which contain main contact information and can redirect you to the association in your city / state. 

Private Guides must also constantly expand their horizons, learn about the history and interesting historical facts, and be informed about news and events of the place.  Constant professional development will become a major part of your life style! However, before making your final decision, please remember that being a Private Guide is not an easy task!  Indeed, tour guides are on their feet most of the time, and the job can be nerve-racking. They even have to work with a variety of people, while being responsible for them.

For those of you who still would like to become a private guide, you can find more detailed information and professional Private Guides’ interviews here.  You also can become a member of our professional Private Guides Community to receive industry information, share your experiences and increase your business.

To receive information on tour guide job vacancies and individual requests on tours, you can become a freelancer-member of our professional community. Click here for more info.

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22:52 April 9, 2012

Min Than  Htut

Very helpful for the guides!

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