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A tour guide in the United Kingdom

A tour guide (U.S.) or a tourist guide (European) is a person who provides assistance, and information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage to people on organized sightseeing and individual clients at educational establishments, religious and historical sites such as; museums, and at various venues of tourist attraction resorts.[1] Tour guides also take clients on outdoor guided trips. These trips include hiking, whitewater rafting, mountaineering, alpine climbing, rock climbing, ski and snowboarding in the backcountry, fishing, and biking.[2]


A Japanese tourist consulting a tour guide and a guide book from Akizato Ritō's Miyako meisho zue (1787)

In 18th-century Japan, a traveler could pay for a tour guide or consult guide books such as Kaibara Ekken's Keijō Shōran (The Excellent Views of Kyoto).[3]


A tour guide in the National Museum of the American Indian

In Europe

The CEN (European Committee for Standardization) definition for "tourist guide" – part of the work by CEN on definitions for terminology within the tourism industry – is a "person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area, which person normally possesses an area-specific qualification usually issued and/or recognized by the appropriate authority".[4] CEN also defines a "tour manager" as a "person who manages and supervises the itinerary on behalf of the tour operator, ensuring the programme is carried out as described in the tour operator's literature and sold to the traveller/consumer and who gives local practical information".[5]

In Europe, tourist guides are represented by FEG, the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. [6] In Europe, the tourist guiding qualification is specific to each country; in some cases the qualification is national, in some cases it is broken up into regions. In all cases, it is embedded in the educational and training ethic of that country. EN15565 is a European Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides.

In Australia

In Australia, tour guides are qualified to a minimum of Certificate III Guiding.[7]]. They belong to a couple of organisations, notably the Professional Tour Guide Association of Australia [PTGAA] and Guides of Australia [GOA].

According to the Tour Guides Australia Code of Conduct, guides must commit to:[8]

In Japan

In Japan, tour guides are required to pass a certification exam by the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency and register with the relevant prefectures. Non-licensed guides caught performing guide-interpreter activities can face a fine of up to 500,000 Yen[9]

In India

In India it is mandatory to have a license approved by the Ministry of Tourism (India) to work officially as a tourist guide. The government provides the license to regional-level tour guides and also runs a Regional Level Guide Training Program (RLGTP). These programs and training sessions are conducted under the guidance of Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) or other government-recognized institutes.[10]

In South Africa

In South Africa tourist guides are required to register in terms of the Tourism Act 3, 2014. Training must be done through a trainer accredited by the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority. [11]

See also


  1. ^ On the Job: A Seasoned Tour Guide Tells All,
  2. ^ "AMGA". Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  3. ^ Berry, Mary Elizabeth (2006). Japan in Print Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 185–190. ISBN 9780520254176.
  4. ^ "EN 15565 2008 Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides..." World Federation of Tourist Guide Assiciations. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  5. ^ "EN 15565 2008 Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides..." World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  6. ^ "FEG - European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations".
  7. ^ "Certificate III Guiding". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Tour Guides Australia Code of Conduct" (PDF). Tour Guides Australia. 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 January 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Tour Guides and Staff". Japan Deluxe Tours. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  10. ^ "How to become tourist guide in India?". 2018-05-15.
  11. ^ "Registration as a Tourist Guide". Western Cape Government. Retrieved 1 October 2019.

Further reading