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Tour Guides and Escorts

Tour guides and escorts is an excellent career for all those people who are globe trotters. The filed offers you flexibility of working on part-time basis as well as full time. Tour guides and escorts take individuals or group of people on tours - around cities, historic buildings, gardens, religious sites, museums, cruises, sightseeing and other places of interest. Some guides are based in one place such as a castle or historic house. They guide groups of visitors and give information on areas including history, purpose, architecture, furniture, paintings, flora and fauna. Driver guides drive small groups in cars or minibuses.

Tour guides may be volunteers, or employed by tour operators or organizations that own or operate facilities, there are options of full time employment only for summer months or part time on a year-round basis. Tour guides employed on a full time basis must be mature. Summer guiding positions often are filled by university students.

Experienced tour guides may advance to supervisory positions. However, advancement opportunities are generally limited and require the ability to train new guides.

Role of Tour Guides and Escorts

  • Greet tourists and describe the content and length of the tour
  • Conduct people on tours of cities, local points of interest, historical sites or establishments such as legislative buildings, cathedrals, bars or wineries
  • Provide information about the area, related events, features and facts of interest to the group
  • Answer questions and distribute information or promotional materials
  • Ensure that tourists follow applicable safety regulations and rules of conduct
  • Implement emergency evacuation procedures should the need arise.
  • Tour guides often find out as much as possible about the groups they will be guiding beforehand to select points of interest and provide commentary appropriate for the age and interests of the group.

Skills of Tour Guides and Escorts

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Sociable: Enjoy working with people of all ages and backgrounds as they have to deal with different people and cultures.
Communication & Language Skills: Tour Guides and Escorts should have good communication skills and  good command over language also comes handy during the tours.

Work Schedule

Hours vary depending on the job. Seasonal work is common; part time work is possible. Many work 40-50 hours a week or more during the tourist season. Guides in historic buildings may work regular hours. Others work variable hours. Evening and weekend work is common.

Tourist guides can be on their feet for much of the time. They may work indoors and/or outdoors and may also travel in coaches, trains and boats. Some spend long or short periods away from home.

Sample of some job titles:

Driver Guide, Recreation Guide, Sightseeing Tour Guide, Tour Guide, Docent, Historical Interpreter, Museum Guide, Interpreter, Discovery Guide, Guide, Museum Educator, Science Interpreter, Museum Docent

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