Tour guides are people that help tourists travel in a specific country or landmark. Most tour guides are native to the country that they're offering tours to. If you're planning on becoming a tour guide in Europe, here are some helpful tips.
- Get a Certification. Most countries require tour guides to have a degree in any tourism related courses. If you did not graduate with a tourism related degree, you can get a certification instead. WFTGA or World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations is a non-profit, non-political organization that brings together tour guide associations, or individual tour guides not belonging to any association around the world. They promote, sell and make sure that tour guides are acknowledged as ambassadors of a region. They offer tour guides training to help individuals who are starting out as tour guides, and to improve tour guides with their skills. You can visit their website at wftga.org.
- Learn the Language. Europe is a continent that is made up of a lot of countries. Learning most of the languages being spoken in this continent is a big challenge. If you're just starting out, concentrate on one or two languages first to make it easier for you, and learn the other ones along the way. Commonly used languages in Europe are French (France), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain), Romanian (Romania), and Portuguese (Portugal).
- Familiarize yourself with the places in Europe. The continent of Europe consists of 50 countries, and measures a total of 10,180,000 sq. km. If you're just starting out as a tour guide, focus on one or two countries first. Read and try to travel to the tourist spots in those countries to familiarize yourself with them. Try to learn your way around the hotels, beaches and resorts, and other vacation spots. Think of it as an adventure for yourself.
- Look for a touring company in your area. This will help you a lot - especially if you don't have any contacts in the business yet. If you're just starting out, the touring company can give you a good exposure on the touring industry. They can give you good experiences. Some touring companies even conduct seminars or trainings for their tour guides to help them improve their skills. If the touring company doesn't give you that much clients, you can set up your own tour during your spare time.
- Enjoy yourself on tours. Nothing will make the tours you conduct more interesting than having you yourself enjoying it. If the tours you conduct turn out to be fun, more and more people will become interested in getting you as a tour guide. Some of your clients may even recommend you to their family and friends, therefore giving you more prospective clients. Despite all the fun, you should still remember to always be attentive of your clients on tour. Be responsive to their needs and always put their safety as your primary concern.
Becoming a tour guide can be hard, but think of the joy of being able to visit places while earning money for yourself. Good luck in your newly found career!