How to become a Tour Guide
- Price: £5.99
- Published: September 2016
- Type: Business Opportunity Profile
- Format: PDF
- Qualifications and skills
- Key market issues and trends
- Trading, commercial and legal issues
- Further information
Tour guides conduct guided tours of visitor attractions and places of interest, such as historic towns and cities, sites of archaeological or religious significance, museums, art galleries, battlefields, castles, cathedrals and stately homes, for small groups and individuals. Guides are expected to provide expert commentary on the history and background of tour locations and answer questions from tour participants. Many tour guides specialise in certain types of tour, such as walking or vehicle tours, and some specialise in a particular subject related to the tour location, such as Jack the Ripper (Whitechapel, London) or Henry the VIII (Hampton Court). Demand for guided tours is subject to considerable seasonal variation.
Tour guides are typically self-employed, operating independently or on a freelance contract basis. Some run their own tours for individuals, families and groups of up to around 50 people, and others provide their services under contract to visitor attractions, national park authorities, local and regional tourist boards, tour operators and established tour guide firms. Freelance tour guides often secure bookings with both private and commercial clients through specialist online booking portals and professional associations representing tour guides.
Most tour guides hold a Blue, Green or White Badge qualification accredited by the Institute of Tour Guiding for guides in England and Northern Ireland, or an equivalent qualification for guides in Wales or Scotland. Some visitor attractions only allow qualified tour guides to conduct tours.
This profile provides information about starting up and trading as a tour guide. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.