Tour Guiding
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Education & Career
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Tour Guiding : Job Prospects & Career Options

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Tour guiding is a profession which is always giving and gaining knowledge. So learning and reading has to be perpetual in this field. The major duty of a tourist guide is to provide detailed information on the various monuments and artifacts, and about the countries traditions, culture and heritage to the tourists visiting the place. The tour guide may act as an educator by providing unique and important facts to satisfy the visitors curiosity. 

One could be a Tour guide or a Tour Manager/ Director in this field. A tour manager's job is more responsible and diverse in the sense that besides providing information, they have to see that the travelers stay is comfortable and that they stay safe and healthy during the tour. Their job starts with receiving tourists at the airport and ends when they are safely aboard on the plane to their home ground. Tour managers travel with the tourist, stay with them and take care of their food preferences & needs, arrange for the special travel needs of the handicapped or the elderly, attend to their medical needs if any etc. They have to familiarise the tourists about the local customs, the do's and don'ts, so that they don't offend the local people unknowingly. In fact, tourist managers have to make sure that their overall stay in the country is productive, happy and comfortable. A tour manager/ director manages the entire show on behalf of the tour company or operator. For a large group of tourists, the tour manager may take the help of a local guide. 

Handling all the details of a trip prior to departure is one basic responsibility of a tour manager. In a nut shell, a tour manager is responsible for : 

Tour guiding is a professional but seasonal job. Many take tour guiding job as a seasonal career. Ample job opportunities are available for tourist guides in public as well as private sector. In the public sector, approved tour guides can find job openings with ITDC (India Tourism Development Corporation) and State Tourist Development Corporations in the respective states. Both the Union and State government tourism departments hire tour guides on a need basis.

In the private sector, tourist guides can take-up full time/ part-time employment with tour operators, travel agencies, hotel and transport industry, airlines, cruise lines etc. Tour guides may work for destination management companies or event management firms, they may specialize in adventure, sporting, eco or wildlife tourism or travel the world on cruise ships as travel managers or directors. Tour guides with excellent writing skills can work as travel writers, travel journalists cum photographers. 

Another good option in the tourism field is self employment. Those with adequate capital can establish their own private travel and tourism firm, after gaining experience and recognition.

Freelancing is another option. For that one need to promote themselves for getting recognition and market their services directly to the public or to tour companies.

Working conditions for the tour guides vary depending on the type of guiding they do. Most of the day, tour guides may be working outdoors, irrespective of weather conditions. Some may work indoors, giving tours in art galleries, museums or historical buildings. Most tour guides frequently do shift work and work in the evenings and on weekends. Those who have taken tour guiding as a full time profession, if conducting a traveling tour, may be away from home for a few days up to a few months. The profession is both remunerative as well as challenging.

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