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Career as a Travel Guide

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Job Profile- Travel Guide

Who is aTravel Guide?

Travel Guides give you tips, ideas, background information, and local points of view to help you plan your perfect trip.

Tour Guides must be able to provide travellers with all the information they should know about the place they’re visiting.

Other common names for this position:

Tour Escort, Travel Escort, Establishment Guide, Sightseeing Guide, Travel Guide, Adventure Tour Guide, Tour Interpreter, Walking Tour Guide.

What does a Travel Guide do?

Tour Guides are expected to supply tourists with information regarding the place they’re visiting, answer questions they'll have, and cling to a pre-designed route to avoid getting lost.

Some Tour Guides work with city sightseeing companies that take tourists around a city and show them the most landmarks. A few of those tours are performed from a bus, while others are on foot. Tour groups may vary in age, from teenagers to senior citizens, and country of origin.

Tour Guides offer company and knowledge to individuals or groups of travellers. They are knowledgeable and savvy about the places they show to tourists. On tours that include sightseeing historical buildings, sites, and locations, Tour Guides must be ready to provide travellers with all the knowledge they ought to realize the place they’re visiting. Most Tour Guides work on a pre-established route and visit a specific list of locations.

They are usually employed by tour operators, hotels, resorts, and other establishments like museums or historical landmarks. However, some Tour Guides work independently or are self-employed.

Daily Tasks of a Travel Guide are:

· Pre-briefing about the group.

· Meeting the group.

· Going over emergency procedures with the group.

· Explaining points of interest during the trip.

· Answering questions about the tour.

· Distributing promotional material.

· Making sure the group stays together and is safe until the end of the tour.

Primary Responsibilitiesof a Travel Guide are:

· Attending briefing meetings with the Tour Manager about important information about the tour group (e.g. age group, interests, and special needs).

· Greeting tourists before starting the tour -

1. Learning their names,

2. memorizing their faces and

3. checking the number of people in the group.

· Explaining emergency procedures to the group and ensuring they understand them.

· Distributing promotion about the trip to the tourists.

· Escorting individuals or groups on sightseeing trips:

· Providing information about the history and culture of the places they visit,

describing points of interests and

answering questions tourists may have.

· Managing groups of up to thirty people -

1. Being able to keep the group focused,

2. making sure nobody gets lost or left behind and

3. making sure the group is safe.

· Driving a motor vehicle sort of a bus or a ship when necessary.

· Making sure that the group adheres and follows local laws, regulations, or rules of specific destinations.

· Responding to emergency situations –

1. Providing CPR (CPR) or care to tourists if needed,

2. remaining calm during stressful situations and

3. handling a group of panicking people.

· Assisting tourists with special needs like senior citizens, people with disabilities, and other people with small babies.

Types of Travel Guides-

Tourist guides are categorized on the basis of the nature of Tourist place they guide about.

1. Heritage

§ History:

One who gives information of the past, moreover found at Palaces, Forts, Museums, Battlefields, Tombs / Mausoleums, Temples, Churches etc.

§ Archaeological:

One who gives information on the ancient civilizations and the bygone era, found at museums and archaeological sites like the Giza Pyramid s, Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro, Nalanda University, Machu Picchu etc.

§ Architecture Guide :

One who gives information of the art and construction strategy of the monuments and masterpieces from the past, found especially outside Temples, Palaces, Tombs / Mausoleums, Towers etc.

2. Culture Guide

One who gives information on the lifestyle patter on the native society of that particular Tourist Destination.

§ Cuisine Guide:

One who gives information on the Agriculture, cultivation, and staple diet of a place, delicacies of that region and where to eat what and when. He /she take the guest around the city making them taste specialties prepared at different food shops and restaurants. Places visited are Farms, Restaurants, Sweet Shops, Chocolate Factory, Cheese Factory, Vineyards, Orchards etc.

§ Religious Guide / Temple Guide / Pilgrim Guide :

One who gives information on the religion, gods & goddesses, mythology, traditions, rituals etc, such guides are hired especially during festival times, they are found at temples, and other shrines.

3. Adventure Guide

§ Mountaineering Guide

§ Trekking Guide

§ Skiing Guide

§ Surfing Guide

§ Scuba Diving / Snorkelling Guide

4. Forest / Wilderness Guide

  • Hunting Guide

  • Safari Guide

5. Business Guide

§ Real Estate Consultant

6. Coach Guide

§ City Tour Guide

7. Nature Guide

§ Desert Guide

§ Hill Station Guide

§ Botanical Garden Guide

8. Special Interest Guide:

· Cruise Guide, Golf Guide, Shopping Guide, Hotel Guide, Wedding Guide etc.

What is the workplace of aTravel Guide like?

Tour guides add a spread of environments and conditions. Museum tour guides, as an example, work indoors year-round, while nature tour guides work outside and are subject to the consequences of climate and weather.

Typically, a tour guide's work week is extremely structured, though they'll work more or but 40 hours.

Since they work within the travel industry, many tour guides lead tours on weekends. Some guides are employed for seasonal and temporary positions, working only during the summer months when tourism is at its peak.

Knowledge areas that need to be acquired –


· customer service

· sales and marketing

Math and Science

· geography


· movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road

Arts and Humanities

· English language


· Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills:

o Communicating clearly with tourists in order to explain safety regulations and procedures;

o explaining points of interest in a loud and clear manner;

o being empathetic and able to inspire trust; and

o having a friendly and engaging personality and being able to handle large groups of people.

· Passion for customer service:

o Being able to tend to the needs of tourists and answer any questions or complaints they may have.

· High organizational skills:

o Being able to adhere to a time schedule;

o being able to organize and watch over a large group of people; and

o being able to follow a pre-designed route.

· Safety conscious:

o Being able to go over security checklists, to identify possible security threats, and to react accordingly; and

o remaining calm in emergency situations.

· High levels of initiative, resourcefulness, flexibility, patience, and compromise.

· Must be able to work with people from different cultures, ages, and walks of life.

Technology Skills-

You might use software like this on the job:

Data base user interface and query software

· Microsoft Access

· Travel Agent CMS

Spreadsheet software

· Microsoft Excel

Electronic mail software

· Microsoft Outlook

Abilities –


· listen and understand what people say

· communicate by speaking

Ideas and Logic

· notice when problems happen

· order or arrange things

Personality –

People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.

They do well at jobs that need:

§ Attention to Detail

§ Dependability

§ Stress Tolerance

§ Adaptability/Flexibility

§ Persistence

§ Social Orientation

Education –

Tour Guides often have similar levels of education. 36% of tour guides have a certificate or associate degree, with the second most common being a high school diploma at 29%.

Prospective tour guides should possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent certificate. Required academic backgrounds vary by company, but often a bachelor's degree in a field related to the subject of the tour is necessary.

Museum tour guides, as an example, usually have a degree in history and eco-tour guides often major in conservation or environmental education. In most cases, employers provide on-the-job education that includes safety training.

Most importantly, tour guides must be experts in their area of concentration. They must be ready to answer specific questions on locations, their history, amenities, and artifacts. Effective communication skills are absolutely essential for a successful career in the industry. In addition, tour guides must be highly organized, punctual, and ethical. They need to have exceptional time-management skills and be able to thoroughly research pertinent information. The ability to talk multiple languages, while not essential, is an asset for several tour guides.

Job outlook –

Travel guides are generally not very well paid. They usually depend on both a salary as well as tips from tourists to make their ends meet. In India, in particular, the base salary is very low. Working for the government or a big travel agency may give you some fringe benefits. However, you should expect a large proportion of your earnings to be tips from generous foreigners. If you are at a popular tourist spot, your earnings are likely to be higher.

Years of Experience as a Tour Guide

Average Salary

0 to 1 year

Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000

1 to 3 years

Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000

3 to 5 years

Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000

5 years and above

Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000


1. Explain what are the physical requirements of a tour guide?

· Must be comfortable working long hours outside

· Must be comfortable standing and walking for long hours

· Must be comfortable with a height

2. What all things does a tour guide should carry with him?

Depending on the site tour guide must carry the accessories

· Torch

· Compass

· Compact first aid box

· Map

· A knife or handy weapon ( Safari Park)

3. As a tour guide what are the career options?

As a tour guide, you can work locally showing tourist city attractions or he can work as an international guide traveling to foreign destinations. In order to do that you have to take training for domestic, as well as foreign travelling

4. As a tour guide what are the career options?

As a tour guide, you can work locally showing tourist city attractions or he can work as an international guide traveling to foreign destinations. In order to do that you have to take training for domestic, as well as foreign travelling.

5. Explain how can you improve tour guide skills?

You can improve tour guide skills by –

· Know your audience:

You must know your tourist, particularly when you want to influence specific group of people. You should know what age people you are addressing, where do they come from, what is the reason selecting particular destination and so on

· Manage the group:

Manage tourist group properly, like they can see and hear correctly what you say, assure passengers a safe passage, be ready to handle unexpected medical situation and select comfortable and safe locations for stops

· Prepare the tour dynamics:

Make tour dynamic by including sports, games, demonstrations or even cooking in the wild

· Analyze your tour:

Keep tourist engaged and make them feel active. It should not be a long road trip in a deserted land, keep talking to the tourist at regular interval even you can tell them historical stories and myth related to that. Carry extra binoculars and pass it to passengers to have a better view, this will leave an impact on tourist.

· Make smooth transitions:

At the end of the tour make a self-evaluation and figure it out whether you have carried out the tour the way you wanted and what are the area for improvisation. You can also rotate a feedback form to your tourist at the end of the tour.

6. What are the different categories of tourist a tour guide frequently come across?

The different categories for tourist are

· Sports, recreation and leisure

· Eco-tourist

· Educational

· Cultural

· Explore their special interest or hobbies

7. Mention what is the five characteristics of great tour guide?

The five characteristics of an excellent tour guide is

· Speak loudly and clearly

· Helps tourist learn

· Relays accurate information

· Continues to learn and improve

· Act professionally

8. Explain what is the approach a tour guide should go for to make his tour standout?

To stand out his tour, tour guide must do following things

· Be a naturalist:

Point out some significant natural landmark during your tour, natural habitat, and landscapes are always the tourist attraction.

· Speak about conservation:

Tell them some information about how local have conserved this place and how much it is important for them. Give some direction of what to do and what not to do while tour like at some place taking pictures or touching of architectural statues is not allowed.

· Use interesting language or few words:

Learn some basic words or language of the tourist you are guiding, it will help them to mix with you, and they will take interest in what you say.

· Intriguing opening:

Always ask tourist about their interest and why they choose the place to visit, etc.

· Non-verbal communication:

Your body language should be positive and use hand gestures while explaining them, smile and make eye contact. It will give them a sense of reliability and trust on you.

9. What are the challenges you face while handling tourist?

The challenges that tourist has to face is

· Asking tourist not to do something repeatedly that is prohibited in that area like taking photographs

· Check everything in the end as there is no negative impact

· Telling kids not to do certain things like visiting a zoo not to go close to animals or not to feed them

· Following the guidelines, like not throwing litter anywhere, as it sometimes costs you few dollars

10. What should a tour guide do before the tour?

· Plan in advance

· Provide necessary information to tourist before you start tour ( Health & Safety)

· Carry appropriate equipment

· Plan the structure of your tour

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