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Handbook for Tour Guides

Book · July 2013


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Nimit Chowdhary
Jamia Millia Islamia


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Tourism is becoming increasingly competitive. Today countries, states
and regions compete with each other to create a superior tourist
experience, that can increase inflows of foreigners and locals. A key
factor in this effort is to create a large resource base of professionally
trained Tour Guides.
Although there are several institutional mechanisms available for
training Tour Guides, aspirants desirous of entering the profession have
for long felt the need to possess a comprehensive handbook that can
enhance their skills.
This handbook is therefore unique in its structure and content. In
addition to basic inputs required for becoming a successful Tour Guide,
it contains a wealth of knowledge on the hundreds of Do’s and Don’ts,
necessary to observe while guiding tourists. Moreover, though these
guidelines have evolved over several years, efforts to document them
in a single source were missing.



It addresses several critical and important aspects, including:

What do tourists expect of a good Tour Guide?
What are the key roles and responsibilities of an effective Tour Guide?
Preparations required before embarking on any tour.
Dynamics, mechanisms and key aspects of tour guiding under different
scenarios, including traditional, recent and emerging formats.
Tricks of the trade, including handling of questions, emergencies
and difficult tourists.
All encompassing, useful, practical and skill-enhancing information for
Tour Guides.
2013 publi catio n
Pape rback | 234 page s
` 295 | $ 7.95 Contents...
ISBN: 978-9 3-813 20-13 -6

Foreword | Preface | Key terms | Tour Guide training

| Summary of tour guiding resources

Section A: Introduction
1. Introduction 2. Role of a Tour Guide 3. Tourist – the customer

Section B: Preparing to be a Tour Guide

4. Steps to becoming a Tour Guide 5. Presenting yourself
6. Making sense of cultural differences

Section C: Guiding a Tourist Group

7. What is interpretation? 8. Dynamics of
commentary 9. Practical tips 10. Mechanics of
tour guiding 11. Tools of the trade
Section D: Guiding Scenarios
12. General dos and don’ts for tour guides 13. Guiding on a walking
tours 14. Guiding on a coach 15. Guiding at a museum
16. Guiding at a religious place 17. Guiding at an archaeological
site 18. Guiding on a nature walk 19. Helping with transfers

Section E: Tricks of the Trade

20. Handling difficult tourists 21. Handling questions 22. Handling
emergencies 23. Search for information 24. Responsible guiding

Section F: Practical Information

25. How to plan an itinerary? 26. Partners in business 27. Setting
up a tour guiding business 28. Code of conduct for tour guides in
India (by MoT) 29. List of MoT, GoI offices and Tourism Departments
of the states 30. Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel
Management (IITTM) 31. Addresses of
IITTM Centres 32. WFTGA

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nd conducting numerous Tour

researches on tour guiding at
uto Tecnológico y de Estudios
a; Shaoxing University, China;

nd extensively published in the

al interest include, Destination Tour Guide Training…
Over the years IITTM has trained thousands of tour guides all over the country earning
useful experience. This has been supported by interaction with tour guides and their
associations, and federations. Guides have been coming
295to us
`back | $for 7.95
refresher programmes. IITTM has also
ISBN 978-93-81320-13-6
engaged with various agencies and state tourism boards
and tourism departments advising them on guide
training system. We have designed and delivered training
programmes for various states. IITTM has also discussed
issues with leading guide training agencies around the
9 789381 320136 60000
world including WFTGA. A lot of academic researches
on issue of guides and guide training have been carried
out under the aegis of IITTM. All this has allowed us to
evolve our range of guide training programmes. While
The Regional Level Guide Training Programme (RLGTP)
is organised as per the guidelines provided by Ministry
of Tourism, Government of India, IITTM has developed training modules that can be
customised to address the specific requirements of State Governments or a Union
Territory Administrations.
These training programmes are targeted at novices who are interested in investing
time in tourism as guides. Interests range from full time tour guiding to participating
on a part time basis. Such participants may be trained to be licensed as a state level
Tour Guide. These programmes may also benefit individuals who are so far practising
guiding without any license or are operating as tour escorts.
The training programme
The training programme has a few important components – basic tour guiding skills
and related information; knowledge of local/regional tourism products; sensitisation
for responsible tourism; and hands on tour guiding experience.

Guiding skills Profile and role of Tour Guide; guest arrival and departure
formalities; tour arrangement procedures; pre-research;
commentary; guiding at a monument, guiding at museum,
guiding at religious place, guiding on a moving vehicle; first
aid and emergency medical care; map reading; itinerary

Knowledge Art and archaeology at the destination, monuments at

of tourism the destination; religion and religious places; history and
products geography of the destination; culture of the state – music,
wedding, cuisine, socio-cultural traditions, art and craft; main
tourist circuits of region; fairs at the destination; history and
geography of India.

Interpersonal Verbal and non-verbal communication; complaint handling;

skills art of listening and handling questions; handling cross-cultural
differences; manners and etiquettes; dos and don’ts.

Tourism trade Tourism trade; components of tourism value chain; Indian

tourism; tourism in the state; trade terminology; ticketing
and bookings; travel insurance, etc.; accommodation and
meal plans.

Guide’s Relation with travel and tour companies; role and function
context of state and national government; role of state government
and tourism development board; Dos and Don’ts for a

Sensitizing Responsible tourism; Dos and Don’ts for a tourist.

Expected outcome
The expected outcome of the Tour Guide training programmes includes:
 Participants are made to appreciate and are exposed to the traits and
characteristics necessary to be an effective Tour Guide.
 Equip learners with knowledge of local tourism products at the destination.
 Improve the guiding and communication skills of the learners.
 Learners are able to handle visitors and take good care of them.
 Participants are also sensitised towards responsible tourism.

Salient features of the training

Some of the high points of our training programmes are:
1. Large component of practical guiding.
2. Details observation exercises.
3. 2-day communication seminar where each candidate is video graphed and play
back used to improve communication skills.
4. Practical guiding at a destination – moving vehicle, monument guiding, guiding
at a museum, and guiding at a religious place; with expert trainers who provide
real time feedback.
5. Research and real time practice.
6. Evaluation of trainees based on performance in real time.
The Author…

Nimit Chowdhary (

is a Professor with Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel
Management, Gwalior. Widely acknowledged as a prolific
researcher and writer, he is also a qualified trainer in Tour
Guiding by the World Federation of Tour Guide Association
(WFTGA) and has been associated with the Regional Level
Guide Training Programme (RLGTP) for over six years.
Prof. Chowdhary has engaged with various state
governments in designing and conducting numerous
Tour Guide training programmes. Currently supervising
a number of doctoral level researches on tour guiding at prestigious Indian
universities, he has taught at several international universities, including Instituto
Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico; Global
Entrepreneurship Academy (GEA), Slovenia; Shaoxing University, China; University
of Gotland, Sweden and University of Girona, Spain.

Recipient of the prestigious AICTE Career Award for Young Teachers, he is

globally acclaimed and extensively published in the area of tour guiding. Widely
travelled throughout India and in over 30 countries, his areas of special interest
include, Destination Marketing and Strategy, Tourism Entrepreneurship and
Research Methodology.
Other titles by the author…

Starting a Tourism Company is the first title

of a two book series and has been developed as a step-by-step
guide to start a small tourism company.

As opposed to the ‘why entrepreneurship’ approach the

authors follow a ‘how entrepreneurship approach’. While most
other books on entrepreneurship discuss the theories on
entrepreneurship, its definitions, classifications, characteristics
etc., this book provides several tourism business ideas and
takes the reader through the process of research and analysis
to develop a bankable business plan. Divided into four segments:
 Section A introduces the reader to the concept of tourism entrepreneurship by sharing
various business ideas.
 Sections B & C provide detailed guidelines for developing effective business plans
supported by strategy, marketing, operations, people and financial plans, besides
supporting them with existing and original case studies.
 Section D addresses practical steps, issues and government
guidelines to set-up a small tourism related business.

The book is a practical guide for serious entrepreneurs desirous

of either venturing into this lucrative business sector or for
those wanting to enhance their competitive edge.
Managing a Small Tourism Business
is the second title of the two book series and focuses on the
critical aspects of management, important for any small business
including, strategy, organisational structure, operations, human
resource management, marketing, and financial management
 In the backdrop of the current tourism business scenario
and government policy, the introduction builds a strategy
which will encourage private enterprise.

 The reader is guided to build a sense of direction for the business by – developing
vision and mission, identifying competitors and customers, discussing steps to design
a strategy and detailing the process of market research, segmentation, targeting and
positioning for small tourism firms.
 It discusses the 7Ps of tourism marketing in detail, dealing with – product, price, place,
promotion, physical evidence, people and process. The authors creatively weave an
important 8th P of tourism marketing – Partnering, a key element of any small tourism
 The book showcases marketing efforts of a successful merchandiser, a Tour Guide, a
Bed & Breakfast operator, a safari operator, MPSTDC and an
event management company.
 Detailed segments on human resource requirements;
selection of location and design of premises; financial
planning; use of IT to advantage; inputs for developing
a website; a discussion on responsible tourism and
some useful tips for success make the book complete.

MATRIX PUBLISHERS Available with leading bookshops and

T 3 Akarshan Bhawan e-business booksites.
4754/23 Ansari Road
Daryaganj Please write to the publisher
New Delhi 110002, India on for attractive offers on bulk supplies.

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