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Tuesday, 17 October, 2017, 14 : 18 PM [IST]

Guides –‘Truly Yours’

TravelBiz Monitor is a trade paper that was born and released in front of me and I have a special association with it always. It was a welcome change a decade ago when it promised to bring travel news every fortnight, I was worried at that time if this would be possible, but today I am happy that it has done so rigorously and has become one of the best trade papers. I congratulate Sheldon Santwan & his entire team for being focused and true. I am sure that they will remain focused and as determined in the coming decade too.

The travel & tour operating business has come of age with a number of developments. However, what hasn’t changed and will never cease to exit the business is the tour guide. A tour guide is an indispensable part of the travel and tourism industry. The personal touch and value addition given by a tour guide still continues to remain one of the strong points of a successful trip.

Tour guides work in the travel industry, giving guided tours to various groups of visitors. They are experts on the history of the location and offer their tour groups interesting or enlightening information about points of interest at nature attractions, historic sites, museums, scenic locations, and other travel destinations. Guides may give walking tours, bus tours, or even lead river tours on a boat. Often hired by visitors’ bureaus or travel companies, tour guides are typically residents of the region in which they give tours.

Where the above statement is like a definition of a tour guide, but the amazing amount of work that they do pre-tour, on tour and post tour is commendable. Travel companies can formalise the best of itineraries, contract it with their tooth & nail, work on all the logistics across the days of the tour, set up the best sight-seeing options, but it is always only one person that makes a difference and that is the guide or tour manager as may be addressed. This person is a historian, amazing in local geography, a cashier all the time, a singer if required, counselor to many on a tour, stand-up comedian, handlers of many egos, a mister fix it and most definitely a friend for life at the end of any tour. A true guide will like any professor would prepare himself on the destination and the mix of the group prior to taking charge of a group. They are required to be on their toes before the group wakes up and be with them till they retire, the job is nonstop and unending while on the tour. A group that comes to guide as unknown set of people often leaves with tears in their eyes. It is this one person that can make or break a tour, and almost always they make the tour a memorable one. Remember it’s a tough job, every day is a set of new challenges in a new destination; they must love to travel as that is what they continue to do day after day. They have to make sure every component of the tour works out well as that is what brings joy to the eyes of his customers. One should always remember to hire a guide even when not on a guided tour at all historic monuments; they charge a small fee, but they tell you tales that are mesmerizing and without that you would miss the actual essence of the place being visited. Even if one is visiting a destination as an individual traveller, there should be an effort to hire a city guide, it will be very much worth the money spent.

This individual needs to be respected always; their greatest joy is to see the eyes of the travellers light up whenever they are taken to an amazing place within a destination. They only need a visitor’s gratitude as they just passionately love what they do.

In the end all I would like to say, being a guide myself many moons ago – for a guide, it’s not about a destination, but about the journey and one needs people to make a journey.

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