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Tour guides accompany groups of visitors to tourist attractions, whether on day trips or longer visits, and give them information and insights that help them make the most of the experience.
Tour guides show groups round attractions such as historic monuments, cultural centres and beauty spots, and provide them with background information to help them make the most of their visit. They may work with day-trippers or on walking tours, or support tourists on longer visits that involve overnight stays, perhaps to rural or remote locations. Tour guide jobs sometimes also call for chauffeuring and language skills. Typical responsibilities include:
undertaking research and planning tours
preparing and giving presentations
offering sightseeing advice
organising and leading excursions
translating and interpreting
transporting and accompanying tourists
Many tour guides work on a seasonal basis and combine tour guiding with other work, but there are full-time roles available.
Qualifications and training required
A degree is not required for entry into this profession. However, it could be an advantage to have national vocational qualifications or a degree in an appropriate subject such as leisure, travel, tourism, or languages.
Work with the general public, or experience gained within the hotel, tourism or travel trades is usually beneficial.
Key skills for tourist guides
Potential tour guides should be fit and healthy with lots of energy and confidence, be able to work effectively without supervision, possess a calm 'customer focused' manner, and have excellent interpersonal skills.
Language and first aid skills are useful, as is a driving licence.