What Does a Tourist Guide Actually Do?

Ask ten different people what they think a Tourist guide actually does, and it’s likely there will be ten different answers. As a naive greenhorn back in the day, I certainly had some preconceived ideas, not just about Tourist Guiding, but pretty much Tourism in general.

Various factors reshaped those initial views and quicker than Usain Bolt covering a 100 metres – well almost. One was a premeditated intention, stated in my own Business Plan to get to know who was who in the zoo, together with getting my own name out there as some sort of quasi marketing exercise.

Another factor was a growing realisation that the credibility of the then Tourist Guide qualification, and supporting infrastructure, had little going for them. Fresh from a professionally organised Corporate environment this particular fact grated worse than a rusty cheese grater, and led to many years of hands-on involvement in Guiding infrastructure and standards. These included becoming a founder member and first Chairman of the Cape Tourist Guides Association.

Those initial years, combined with that most important factor of all, gaining experience as a working Tourist Guide, set a solid foundation for genuinely understanding and appreciating what a Tourist Guide actually does !


Off duty and relaxing on the beach

Some Say – they’re on perpetual holiday

If that were the case then I certainly can’t recall sending anyone postcards during the course of a Tour.

Happy family on Tour

Some Say – They sit in a seat designed for a 10 year old

Whilst that’s not 100% true, the jump seat up front next to the driver has to be one of the most impractical environments known to man.

Standard image of a flag waving Tourist Guide

Some Say – They wave a flag in front of people

Has a role to play in certain Tourist Guides job descriptions, but definitely not the “B” all and end-all of the responsibilities.

Schoolteacher doing Guide impression

Some Say – They’re mobile school teachers

Perhaps a natural temptation for some, which if it persists definitely creates a case for “Headmaster” intervention.

Tourist Guide drowning in cash

Some Say – they’re overpaid for having fun

Definitely an opinion of the layman. Any Tourist Guide, anywhere, would not only firmly dispute that view but laugh it off the planet with such force, it would make climate change seem irrelevant.

Merve encouraging you to follow this blog

Merve Says……

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I have been a South African registered Tourist Guide for some 24 years, and also developed my own Tour Operating Business in keeping with sound business principles. I can help you with all of this.

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