The bon to your voyage
Have you been to the world-famous Jagannath Temple, Orissa of India? Do you know the flag at the top of the temple’s dome fly opposite to the direction of wind? No? Then probably you did not think of having a tour guide during your trip! (Right?)
I know you must be thinking why at all knowing this fact is related to having a tour guide on your trip. Well then it totally is. A tour guide operates like a see through mirror, you see the city or a place through his eyes and the way he wants you to see it. They are the ones who solely keep the power to make a place breathe or erase.
Are you the one?
So if you are someone who envisions places, cities or countries as living beings and wants to explore its soul, passionately but always thought about the funds you would need to sponsor your trips – Then your golden fortune is calling you to be an exceptional vacay-leader.
Now, with the prior provisions, we are set to sail for an amazing journey to become a tour guide – and our first port will be ‘Educational Qualifications.’
You will definitely need a minimum of secondary education and the best part – your stream won’t really matter. So you have the freedom to pursue whatever field you want to, and still be a tour guide. Though, post-secondary education is not necessarily needed, it will give you a slight hedge above others.
Measures by the government
Indian Government has been trying hard to develop the tourism sector and educate the tour guides. In reference to this tourism office located in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata holds tour-guide training programmes from time to time. But in this case, you have to be a graduate to apply. Apart from this, there are many other private/public colleges that provide short term courses in tourism.
Tour guide tips
This is the basic framework which every tour guide you meet has to do or will do, let me advise you some tips which will help you differentiate yourself from other tour guides
- Learn a foreign language, may be more. You are going to interact with people all over the world and if you know their native language, what better?
- Your General Knowledge should be spot-on. You will be the reason why many of them will remember the place for the rest of their lives, so you definitely can’t make it boring for them! Discover all the unbelievable facts and those stunning places that can make your visitors woo in disbelief.
- Find some institutes which impart public speaking classes and apply for them, it will be the best you can invest on yourself. Tour guides are known for their speaking ability and their way of narrating everything with such fascination and thrill. We have covered more about communication skills on Communication is an art – Some tips to help you ace that speech!
- ‘Athithi Devo bhav’ – the Indian slogan of the tourism department which means ‘A guest should be as celebrated as GOD!’ So polish your hospitality skills and gear up to welcome your visitors with that charming smile of yours!
- You are going to sail the ship the entire time, so Captain you cannot not have phenomenal leadership skills. (In case you think you lack in this, either practice enough exercises to improve or forget tourism.)
Tour guide duties and responsibilities
And it’s time to sail ahead from our education port to the port of duties; we also call it ‘The port of responsibilities’;
A tour guide’s job might sound appealing but it is as much challenging. You have to make everything feel like heaven, right from the roads of a local market to the world-famous monuments. You need to uphold the cultural traditions and heritage of the place. Don’t forget you will be paid to answer all the questions of your visitors and rest all the curiosities of the first-timers.
Most of the times, you will be expected to do or work out everything that a tourist will need during its trip. You will be there go-to person for everything, for the sole reason that you will be the only one who will be acquainted to the local areas. Right from the local party places to the emergency first-aid camps, you will be there only resort.
Tourism job opportunities
If you think tourism holds only guides under their shelter, you are highly mistaken. There is so much more, that this industry can serve you with:
- Tour Operators
- Travel Agents
- Adventure sports instructor
- Heritage sites and their conservation
- Transport Service Providers
And the list goes on and on..
Tour guide career opportunities
Well, a tour guide is yearned for in every-damn place. Like, imagine how would Taj Mahal be like without the beautiful love epitome of Shah-Jahan and Mumtaz? – Yes, a tour guide can make that much of a difference!
Coming back to where you can find work, I would suggest Tour-Operating Companies are your best pick. The tourism department of the government also employs a considerable number of guides every year. Also, Wildlife parks, Amusement Parks, Museums, Historical sites hires guides who can convincingly present their property to the tourists.
So after the port of duties and responsibilities we have now arrived to the port of rewards or correctly stated the ‘port of Salary’
Tour guide salary
The salaries vary greatly from one place to another. If you are in USA, you can very well earn $20,000 to $30,000 a year. While in India, the salary of Tour guides is really low, somewhere near Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month but besides the principal salary there is huge scope of tip from the foreign visitors. So keep giving your best and hold your heart.
Tour guide challenges
A tour guide will be asked to work 24 hours sometime. It will involve a lot of walking and staying away from home for a long long period. You have to keep the enthusiasm alive even after you have been to the same place for a hundred times over. But believe me it will all be worth it when you will discover so many places round the globe and see those smiles of amazement on the faces of thousands of people.
And we have finally reached our destination ‘The Tour Guide’, you are now all set to rock the world and assimilate life in an abode. All the best and see you in our next journey!
Related Article: Travel to Earn! – A Travel Writer
One last for the travelers
But wait, this one’s for all the travelers. Do you just want to visit the place and look around or do you want to see, breathe and get absorbed into the place so vividly that when you leave you carry the traces of the place with you forever in your heart. I am sure it’s the latter. Then never ever forget to look for these trip-saviors on your next journey!