A tour guide is a professional, who serves tourists for commentary making, normal assisting, providing information etc. A tour guide guides in the language of tourists.
His basic job is to know the place, attraction and deliver the same to the client in his language according to his intellectual level. He must be able to understand the intellectual level of tourists and must interpret commentary accordingly.
Major roles of a tour guide
A tour guide plays multifaceted roles. He is an information provider- to impart information about timings, places, altitude, bus/train/air system, society, political system, people, places, geography, history, flora and fauna etc. He is councilors- counsel his clients on many issues.
Also read Job of a Tour Guide
He is an assistant- assist in transfers from airport to hotel and hotel to airport. He is an entertainer- entertains tourists while free time. Many tourists visiting from Russia remember songs of Rajkapoor Ji. So, he can sing songs and take them to the golden past of Indian cinema.
A tour guide is a caretaker- he takes care of tourists, his belongings. He is an adviser- advises about pick picketers, thieves, chain snatchers, thugs, duplicate products in shopping etc. He is an expert- in adventure guide has expertise in activities like: trekking, parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jungle safari etc. During crisis, he is a cook- he can cook if required in crisis during trekking, expeditions with the help of locals.
Who is a leader? It is a billion dollar question. One of my known professors is a head of the national level institute. He makes his team find a chance in media and get appreciation. He keeps his team first. A good tour guide must make his clients smile after every successful ride of paragliding.
He must appreciate tourists’ stamina, interest, inclination towards India. He must identify their positive points and bring them forward.
Also read Present status of Tour Guides
Now, let us come to his job. A tour guide has to lead a group in ruined cities, heritage sites, wildlife sanctuaries, forests, mountains, valleys. He has to keep them under one aim i.e. to make the tour successful. Many members get away due to their personal reasons.
But, a good guide keeps them engaged by his leadership skills.
2. Commentary maker
What is commentary?
When, I was a little child, my grandmother used to tell me stories. I had to say ‘yeah’ after every sentence (mark of acknowledgement that I am listening and you proceed ahead). I was tempted till end of the story. She was the best story teller in my life.
Do you remember, the story of Lion sung by legendary icon Sri Amitabh Bachan Ji in the movie Mr. Natwar Lal- Mere Pas Aao Mere Dosto, Ek Kissa
Sunao………… A story teller has the power of magnets to attract people and keep them waiting until the end of the story. My friend tells a story of Tajmahal and explains
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Mumtaj and King…….. A saw people literally weeping by the end of story. It is the power of commentary making by a tour guide. It cannot be replaced by audio system.
The Commentary makes a long lasting memory of a tour guide in the mind of tourists. I found that tour guides are popular due to their commentary making or orator ship among the tour groups. People remember stories for longer time. But, they cannot recall years, complex messages.
I think a tour guide must work hard and practice for a long time by making his own videos and collecting feedback from friends. Commentary makes a tour guide perfect.
But, commentary should be supported by good knowledge base. Assistant to travelers to understand region and life style
Many tour guides provide them (tourists) walking to villages to understand life style and culture. They assist them in this exercise and help them to talk to villagers, artisans, handicraft makers.
I found that people living in Odisha offer daily prayer in Temples. It is a good practice. We can show it to the tourists, So that they could understand the way of performing prayer. It is a matter of practically feeling. You cannot understand just by seeing the picture of it.
In many situations tourists feel nervous because they are away from their place. Tour guides must also act as counselors and counsel his clients.
4. Information Provider
When I was on travel to Malaysia, our tour guide took us to coach after welcoming at the air port and shifting luggage in the coach. It was our first interaction with the coach. It started with welcome message (first responsibility of a tour guide and of course guiding principle to welcomes), then he mentioned that he will speak in Hindi (as his forefathers were migrated to Malaysia from pre-independent India).
Then he explained about Malaysia, its currency, states, political system, mobile phone companies/ charges, roads, economy etc. His talk till refreshment on the way kept us engaged and informative.
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5. Walking Encyclopedia
A tour guide must walk the talk. His good knowledge helps the tourists to virtually visualize the past. It is difficult to understand history without a tour guide. You cannot imagine the place without tour guide. For example: when I went to Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.
Our tour guide sahib told us about fruits (like: Berries, Kafal, Buras), mountains, the problem of a land slide, etc. Otherwise, I could not collect so much information, awareness, and above all practical tricks to sense weather without our tour guide.
It means a tour guide must have knowledge of every part of life in the place where he is guiding.
Tour Guide Job Responsibilities
I have a role of teacher while working in the college inside the classroom. My responsibilities are to take attendance, to teach, to give work assignments, to take feedback. I think, now you must be clear about role and responsibilities. In previous sections, we discussed roles of tour guides.
His responsibilities are to take tourists comfortable to the destination, safety and security, timings, instruction before and after the tour about places, do’s and do not’s, weather conditions, local sentiments, a legal system, etc.
Duties of a Tour Guide
Duties of tour guide are varied. It also depends on the country in which he is working, Like: Many countries allow Coach drivers to do guiding also. He can tell the group about place coming on the way as well as drive the coach at the same time. I have not seen such practice in India.
A tour guide must have many duties, starting with the pre-holiday planning. He will be required to prepare a list of all the major tourists’ places in the region. Then he will have to make all the arrangements in advance to make the visit possible.
Handling the tourists’ transportation (Coaches, Buses, taxi etc.) and accommodation (for e.g. Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Capsule Hotels ) of the tourists will also be his responsibility.
Personal Requirements of Tour Guide
A tour guide must have few qualities. He must have patience while an undergoing tour. He must be pro-active and take important responsibilities and expedite with full dedication. He must know multiple languages for example: the language of tourists, local language and must be able to translate from one language to the other.
A tour guide must have good health and be able to work in varied climatic conditions. While doing the tour, he has to face many changes in the climate and sudden changes in the weather. He must have the knowledge to forecast weather using conventional means (as GPS will not work in few mountain areas.