Tour, guide and make a career

Many institutes and universities in India offer certificates, diploma courses, and even a degree in tourism after Class 12.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 22:35 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 22:35 IST

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If you enjoy travelling, exploring new places, meeting people, and being fluent in languages, you can pursue an exciting career as a tour guide.

A guide ensures that the tourist’s trip is meticulously planned, the itinerary is well executed, people are escorted to various destinations and sightseeing attractions, information on history and culture is provided, and trip logistics are involved (arranging vehicles, ensuring the group follows the timetable, coordinating entry to attractions, and recommending places to dine and shop).

Skills needed

To be a tour guide, one must be enthusiastic, enjoy being outdoors, have a passion for travelling, and maintain stamina and patience. Good communication ability and time management skills are essential, too. Tour guides should be well-versed in the history, geography, culture, and traditions of the place they travel with the tourists.

One must also possess problem-solving abilities, as unexpected issues may arise during tours. A tour guide must meet tour members on arrival, coordinate pre-arranged accommodation and transport, and ensure that customers are comfortable and solve any problems.

You must be prepared to work for long hours and at different times. If you work for a local operator, the city landmarks (forts, palaces, museums, etc.) will be available during the day. Going with tourists for a dolphin-watching tour, or birding will be early morning, and so on. The working hours may change with the season.

Many institutes and universities in India offer certificates, diploma courses, and even a degree in tourism after Class 12. The Tourism Offices of the Government of India conduct courses. After conducting a test, the Tourism Department issues Tourist guide licenses at the state and central levels. Even big tour agencies have their courses today. Intern with a tour company to learn basic skills and get experience.

Types of tour guides

Depending on your course and your interests, you can choose to work as a tourist guide. City tour guides (which are now popular in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc) take tourists to historical or cultural sites, temples, architectural places of interest, local bazaars, etc.

The guide accompanies the tourist group in crowded streets, interacts with locals, and gives knowledge of the city’s history, architecture, and lifestyle. Some tours offer a culinary experience where a chef takes tourists to a local restaurant for a cooking class.

Today, tourism is increasing with eco-tourism, adventure, spiritual, wellness tourism, etc, and there is a huge requirement for skilled professionals. Sightseeing tour guides lead tours to landmarks in the city, such as museums, places of worship, aquariums, historical sites, etc. Adventure tour guides conduct hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting, and rock climbing tours. Wildlife tour guides take groups to forests, mountains, or coastal areas, including wildlife sanctuaries and desert safaris.

International tour guides will take the group from India to a foreign location and accompany them throughout the trip. Special tours are also available for senior citizens, only women, pilgrimage trips, schoolkids, etc.

After a few years as a tour guide, one can become a travel agent or set up a business as a tour operator. This involves arranging travel facilities like airlines, hotels, car rentals, recreational activities, and sightseeing. Tourist guides with a tourism or hospitality management degree can explore more opportunities in the ever-growing tourism industry.

Published 10 June 2024, 22:35 IST

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