Do you love your city and the country you live in? Are you enthusiastic enough about it to share it with others? Are you a people’s person? Do you prefer being out of the office and are you definaltely not the computer type who would do something like an IT course? If you answered yes to the above questions, a career in tour guiding may be for you.
To make a decent living from tour guiding you need to live in a city that receives a lot of these visitors. If you don’t, then you need to be willing to travel for work. Tours can be as short as day trips or as long as three weeks. On these longer trips you would be staying with guests and need to be comfortable spending time away from home. Tour guides entertain guests and give them special insights into their city and country. They also provide the security and peace of mind of having a local with them. Having the advice of a local guide makes a trip more enjoyable and hassle-free.
As a tour guide you can specialize in certain tourist sights, for example, in Cape Town we have wine farms, the CBD and the outdoors. The wine farms are rich in history and as a wine guide you would need to have a passion for wine. Cape Town CBD is peppered with historical monuments, museums and interesting stories. As an outdoor guide, you could take people on hikes around Cape Town. For this you would need to be fit and have knowledge of the local fauna and flora. Specializing in a certain guiding field would make you an expert and much sought after in certain niche markets. Just keep in mind that guiding work is seasonal. So being more diverse would guarantee more work opportunities to a larger range of clientele.
Tour guiding work can be taken on as a part or full time job. The seasonal influx of tourists would, however, mean that some months could be quieter than others. Foreign language speaking guides are often in high demand. Foreign businessmen often take guided tours when they are visiting a city. If you can speak a foreign language then you could almost double your fee.
Finally, don’t forget your sense of humour. Making the occasional joke often wins over clients. They are, after all, on holiday and want to enjoy themselves. Your sense of humour may also be required when faced with difficult clients. Every nationality has its quirks and cultural differences and it’s important to be able to remain open-minded and keep smiling throughout the tour.
Sandy Cosser writes on behalf of Now Learning, which promotes a range of study opportunities in Australia, including IT courses and tourism diplomas online.