Each and every time I bring a group to Italy and arrange for a special tour guide I would often wondered, what does it take to become a tour guide? I decided to chat with our guide, Katia, one day while we were touring the Veneto region of Italy. After a lengthy conversation, I asked her to write an article for my newsletter. This illustrates why qualified Tour Guides are worth every penny. Enhance your next travel experience with a guide. They are truly committed to making your experience special!
Here is what she wrote:
Tourist guides are subject to a European Standard which requires the ability to communicate with visitors in the language of their choice, and also demands familiarity with the cultural and natural characteristics of an area. Tourist guides may also be required to possess specific qualifications in accordance with standards set by local or regional authorities.
In Italy, guides may qualify to represent regions or individual cities and towns. For example, in the Veneto region, licensure is required in each individual city or town. To obtain the license, the guide is required to pass oral and written examinations related to art, history, architecture and archaeology, as well as the economy and geography of the area. A degree is also required as well as the ability to speak at least two non-Italian languages.
Guides must have the ability to transmit correct and authentic information; as well as the ability to interact with the client and be responsive to the client’s wishes.
As can be seen, becoming a licensed guide is not easy. In my case, I participated in extensive historical and cultural study of Verona for 5 years. This included weekly instruction with tours guided by professors as well as tremendous amounts of my own time “discovering the area where I lived. Standing in front of the examination board in Venice was not easy but, when I passed the examination more than 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to do what I love and to pass along to clients the “magic moments” of our history, architecture, culture, and heritage.
I never stop learning as there are new and wonderful discoveries and cultural developments all the time. Keeping current is the best way to guarantee that clients have the best possible experience.