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Tour Guides: Your Window on the World

Usually, when I take a family vacation, we take a tour of the city or surrounding areas where we are staying. The tour serves to go places that we night not be able to on our own and to learn about things we would not notice on our own. The key person on the tour is the tour guide. He or she is the bridge between us and the destination. Here are some tour guide attributes that I have gathered over the years:

  • Friendly and outgoing

  • Willing to answer questions of all kinds

  • Good language skills (English in my case)

  • Good knowledge of local history, customs, geography and cuisine

As additional trait, I might add: willingness to deliver over-the-top. In other words, giving more than you ever thought you would receive.

Though English skills are not at the top of the list for a tour guide, they can be a barrier for success. Most of the tour guides I have met have an intermediate level of English. Sometimes, I do not quite understand what they are saying, and sometimes they do not understand me well. Now, this may be enough language to get the job done. However, why settle for less? Why not stand out from the competition and reach out to the customers with a superior level of English?

When I teach tour guides, I make sure that they can communicate fluently and narrate local history by practicing with me, each step of the way making their job easier and more pleasant for all.

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