A Guiding Light for Tourists; Careers in Tourism You Get Far More out of Visits to an Art Gallery, Historic Site or Building When There Is Someone Knowledgeable to Give You All the Facts Emma Thompson Finds out More about the World of the Tourist Guide in Association with Fish4jobs
Byline: Emma Thompson
What does a career as a tourist guide involve?
Tourist guides show visitors around places of interest, such as towns and cities, historic buildings, gardens, religious sites or museums and art galleries.
As a guide, you could work in one place, or accompany groups on day tours to interesting places or sites of cultural or historical significance.
You would escort groups around the site or area, and give information about history, purpose, architecture or other points of interest.
You could also work as a 'driver guide', taking small groups of tourists on guided tours around places of interest in a car or minibus.
What personal skills do you need?
You need to enjoy working with people, have the confidence to speak to groups of people, as well as excellent communication skills, and a clear voice.
The ability to present information in an interesting, accessible way, even when repeating the same tour many times a day, is essential, along with a good memory for facts, figures and events.
An interest in the arts, history and other related subjects, such as architecture, is an advantage.
What training do you need?
You don't need set qualifications, but you would need a good standard of general education.
Experience in jobs dealing with the public and giving presentations could be an advantage, as well as speaking a foreign language fluently, but it's not usually essential.
Courses and exams accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding include: Level 2 Fixed Route Commentary, Interpretation and Presentation - for guiding visitors round attractions, such as galleries or cathedrals, or on fixed route tours. …