A tour guide or a travel agent is someone who gives information, guidance on historical, cultural heritage to individuals on private individual or organized sightseeing tours. These guides generally have an extensive knowledge of the areas visited by their customers. A well experienced tour guide can make a difficult task into an enjoyable one and can also provide necessary guidance at technical points of entry into a foreign country.
These guides generally hold a specialized qualification which includes both professional experience and educational programs in the relevant field of interest to the customer. These guides may not hold a degree or diploma in tourism or travel guides. Most educational programs provided by the Department of Tourism or similar organizations to train their employees in basic customer service skills, customer interaction and marketing strategies. There are many professional organizations like the Adventure Travel Club of America (ACEA) and the North American Travelers Association (NATA), which conduct training programs for their members. These organizations offer high standards of education and conduct certifications periodically to ensure that the employees keep their qualification up-to-date.
These organizations prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. They also prefer candidates who have successfully completed at least two years of relevant experience as tour guides. Some tour guides are self-employed and their services are hired by private individuals, corporations or tourism organizations. A few tour guides are involved in specific tours like trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, scuba diving etc. Some tour guides also start their own companies. It is best to check with the Department of Tourism of the country or state where you are going to plan to go for a tour before you select a tour guide.