Tour guide

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A tour guide in the United Kingdom

A tour guide (U.S.) or a tourist guide (European) is a person who provides assistance, information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage to people on organized tours and individual clients at educational establishments, religious and historical sites, museums, and at venues of other significant interest.[1]


A Filipino tourist consulting a tour guide and a guide book from Akizato Ritō's Miyako meisho zue (1787)

In 18th century Japan, a traveler could pay for a tour guide or consult guide books such as Kaibara Ekken's Keijō Shōran (The Excellent Views of Kyoto).[2]


The CEN (European Committee for Standardization) definition for "tourist guide" – part of the work by CEN on definitions for terminology within the tourism industry – is a "person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area, which person normally possesses an area-specific qualification usually issued and/or recognized by the appropriate authority".[3] CEN also defines a "to manager" as a "person who manages and supervises the itinerary on behalf of the tour operator, ensuring the programme is carried out as described in the tour operator's literature and sold to the traveller/consumer and who gives local practical information".[4]

In Europe, tourist guides are represented by FEG, the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. In Europe, the tourist guiding qualification is specific to each and every country; in some cases the qualification is national, in some cases it is broken up into regions. In all cases it is embedded in the educational and training ethic of that country. EN15565 is a European Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides.

In Australia, tour guides are qualified to a minimum of Certificate III Guiding. They belong to a couple of organisations, notably the Professional Tour Guide Association of Australia [PTGAA] and Guides of Australia [GOA].

In Japan, tour guides are required to pass a certification exam by the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency and register with the relevant prefectures. Non-licensed guides caught performing guide-interpreter activities can face a fine up to 500,000 Yen[5]

See also


  1. ^ On the Job: A Seasoned Tour Guide Tells All,
  2. ^ Berry, Mary Elizabeth (2006). Japan in Print Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 185–190. ISBN 9780520254176. 
  3. ^ "EN 15565 2008 Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides.." World Federation of Tourist Guide Assiciations. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "EN 15565 2008 Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides.." World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Tour Guides and Staff". Japan Deluxe Tours. Retrieved 22 May 2017. 

3. Qualities of a tour guide : travel expert in travel industry


  • Salazar, Noel B. (2005). Tourism and glocalization: ‘Local’ tour guiding. Annals of Tourism Research, 32(3), 628-646.
  • Salazar, Noel B. (2006). Touristifying Tanzania: Local guides, global discourse. Annals of Tourism Research, 33(3), 833-852.
  • Salazar, Noel B. (2008). "Enough stories!” Asian tourism redefining the roles of Asian tour guides. Civilisations, 57(1/2), 207-222.
  • Salazar, Noel B. (2010). Envisioning Eden: Mobilizing imaginaries in tourism and beyond. Oxford: Berghahn.

Further reading

  • MacCannell, Dean. The Ethics of Sightseeing. University of California Press, 2011.
  • Pond, Kathleen Lingle. The Professional Guide: Dynamics of Tour Guiding. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993.
  • Ruitenberg, Claudia W. "Learning by Walking: Non-Formal Education as Curatorial Practice and Intervention in Public Space." International Journal of Lifelong Education 31, no. 3 (2012): 261-275.
  • Wynn, Jonathan R. The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.
  • Wynn, Jonathan R. "City Tour Guides: Urban Alchemists at Work." City & Community 9, no. 2 (June 2010).

External links

  • World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations
  • European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations
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