WHAT IS A TOURIST GUIDE?
In 2003 the WFTGA adopted the European Committee for Standardisation
(EN 13809) definition of a Tourist Guide:
“A person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area. Which person normally possesses an area-specific qualification usually issued and/or recognised by the appropriate authority”
Following our April 2017 WFTGA Guidelines Internetion@l we offer this next edition. We used the April 2017 edition to give everyone a round-up of activities from our member associations celebrating International Tourist Guide Day in 2017. The purpose of Guidelines Internetion@l was for sharing your news and updates regarding our profession of tourist guides worldwide. And we hope to return that original purpose, with contributions from you, our members, with a view to improving our services for you. Sadly the WFTGA Guidelines Internetion@l still has no Editor. If you are interested to volunteer for this position, please do contact us at email@example.com expressing your interest and relevant skills. If you would like to contribute to a future edition, which only WFTGA Members can do, also please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org
www.wftga.org @WFTGAofficial facebook.com/wftga wftga_official
|Covering Note from WFTGA President Alushca Ritchie
|About WFTGA Past Presidents
|Farewell letter from Felicitas Wressnig, President Emeritus
|About new WFTGA members
|Maricar encourages engagement with our Convention 2019 Hosts
|International Tourist Guide Day 2018
|About WFTGA Area Representatives
|WFTGA Training Division
|What is in your TG bag?
We wish you happy reading and happy guiding!
COVERING NOTE FROM WFTGA PRESIDENT ALUSHCA RITCHIE
Dear WFTGA Members, Affiliates and Colleagues,
I am sure most have heard of the term ‘Time Flies’, which is a popular non-literal reference in which time progresses. It refers to the perception of time at certain moments in life and can appear to be moving more quickly and slipping through our fingers. This proverb helps us to remember just how precious our time is, and reminding ourselves of this proverb will encourage us to use our time as wisely as possible.
In the last while, my time used has been to gain knowledge on International Best practice and the Corporate Governance of an International Organisation like ours, as legislation tightens its belt. It has been an opportunity to get to know our members and our affiliates (such as UNESCO and UNWTO) and to identify our goals and strategies for the term ahead.
As President, there have been a number of managerial challenges as well as some wonderful opportunities. Unfortunately soon after the 2017 Convention, the appointed Treasurer stepped down. Fortunately we were able to co-opt Hermann Friedsam (previous Treasurer) to assist us in moving forward. We were also fortunate to appoint a Financial Administrator, Sylvia Barrath, to assist with the financial administration side of WFTGA. (refer below) Having an Executive Board based across the world has proven that Communication is one of the biggest challenges.
It has been a privilege to attend the recently held UNWTO forum in China, where many contacts were made and the opportunity to share more about the Tourist Guiding Sector presented itself. As learnt, our European members are facing challenges such as Terrorism, Tourism Phobia, Natural disasters, Illegal Tourist Guides/tour leaders and in addition to that, certain countries are faced with an increase in red tape. We at WFTGA will do our utmost to support our members facing these challenges.
The Executive Board have participated in attending Trade Shows and Tourist industry Forums over the last few months. The EXBO continue to promote the use of qualified and accredited Tourist Guides in the just under 80 WFTGA member countries. They continue, for the most part, to work tirelessly at giving their own time to WFTGA and with that we are proud to report an increase in membership, a number of completed Training Courses (and some new ones on the cards), and not to mention some Special Projects in progress, such as a new WFTGA Website. The new website will offer members/trainers/area reps, the opportunity to self-manage their profiles, allow for easier membership and database management, user-friendly editing, easier online payments and many more features. We will share more about this exciting special project early in 2018.
At our recent annual EXBO meeting held in Georgia in August, we found ourselves thinking of succession plans; for myself, the EXBO and for the Tourist Guiding profession in general. Mentorship in the sector is lacking, which partly allows for the transfer of knowledge and technique… food for thought. What are you doing to ensure your legacy and your knowledge continues?
With that in mind, a reminder that International Tourist Guides Day will be taking place on 21st February 2018. We encourage all Tourist Guides to become ‘agents of positive change’. UNWTO recently launched their campaign TRAVEL, ENJOY and RESPECT. What better ambassadors for this mantra than Tourist Guides around the world.
Every second year the WFTGA host an International Tourist Guides Convention, offering opportunities to learn and network with each other, access to relevant and interesting speakers, as well as an opportunity to learn about the culture of the host city. The Republic of Georgia will be our Convention hosts in January 2019. Please keep an eye on our social media platforms and your inbox, in February 2018 for early bird registration and theme details. We look forward to welcoming many of our members, who we can confidently say are in for a treat! The EXBO experienced some of the Georgian sites and hospitality while at our annual meeting. The Georgians most definitely love to entertain with music, food and wine.
WFTGA will be attending WTM (World Travel Market) in London in order to share more about its Silk Road project and make contact with members, potential members and Affiliates. We will also be attending FEG (Federation of European Guides) Convention in Dublin in November 2017. This will present an opportunity to share Tourist Guide concerns, learnings and networking opportunities.
I would like to take the opportunity to wish our Tourist Guide members entering their season, a successful season ahead. To all Tourist Guides, always remember that you are not only Brand Ambassadors for your City, but you are Ambassadors for a sector that plays a large role in the Value chain of Tourism.
We ask you to please be RESPONSIBLE Tourist Guides, remain POSITIVE, PASSIONATE and always be INSPIRED. Remember just how precious our time is, and I encourage you to use your time wisely.
WFTGA EXBO 2017 – 2019
Exbo as voted and appointed in Iran, Tehran January 2017
PRESIDENT: Alushca Ritchie > email@example.com
VICE PRESIDENT (Joint Positions): Mary Kemp Clarke > firstname.lastname@example.org
Esther Banike > email@example.com
EXBO MEMBERS: Stephen McAuley
photo: Georgia EXBO visit
CO-OPTED MEMBER: Hermann Friedsam Treasurer position
FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATOR: Sylvia Barrath
Financial Administrator (invoices, payments, receipts, expense claims, financial reports)
ABOUT WFTGA PAST PRESIDENTS
Our former or past WFTGA Presidents will now form part of a constituted Advisory Committee. The Members of this new Advisory Committee will be given the honorary title of President Emeritus. We remember all our WFTGA Presidents with gratitude for their work and dedication to raising standards and the profile of our tourist guide profession worldwide:
- Yossi Grau, WFTGA President Emeritus (1985-1987)
- Jane Orde, WFTGA President Emeritus (1987-1993)
- Titina Loizides, WFTGA President Emeritus (1993-1999)
- Deborah Androus, WFTGA President Emeritus (1999-2001)
- Elisabeth Schroder, WFTGA President Emeritus (2001-2003)
- Ruby Roy, WFTGA President Emeritus (2003-2007)
- Rosalind Newlands, WFTGA President Emeritus (2007-2013)
- Felicitas Wressnig, WFTGA President Emeritus (2013-2017)
FAREWELL LETTER FROM FELICITAS WRESSNIG, PRESIDENT EMERITUS
Dear Colleagues and Friends around the world
After eight years on the Executive Board of World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations, I thank all who supported me, showed trust in my abilities and voted for me several times. I had wonderful companions to form EXBO and we found solutions on many issues. Especially with the growing number of members and demands in training, no one could do this alone: it needs the team and I thank wholeheartedly all who cooperated with me!
I can relax now and leave the path for the elected new team with Alushca as President; I wish them constant assistance and success!
You might perceive my “reappearance” as Past President, a long time after our Iran Convention; it is almost half a year ago. Honestly, I needed some time off and it gave a smooth introduction to the new EXBO.
I consider the Iran Convention a good fortune, not only because we had again more than 400 participants. It displayed lovely hospitality throughout, offered us a warm welcome everywhere, showed stunning crafts and fabulous heritage: all we could wish from a tourist guide point of view! The sightseeing programme left little time for professional discussion but certainly gave us all the positive aspects of a country to be discovered. The opening ceremony gave us the needed official support:
We could listen to Iran’s President Rouhani praising peace and open boundaries; meet Secretary General of UNWTO Taleb Rifai who always supports qualified area specific guiding; hear the (female) Vice President talk about tourism and its importance for the economy. Even when I was permitted only two minutes for my opening speech, I could lure the audience into cheers about our Ethos, reminding on our Code of Conduct and professionalism. The whole ceremony demonstrated the official acknowledgement of our profession, the profound qualification for interpreting cultural heritage.
I was sorry for all who could or would not come – whatever the reason: the Prague vote for Iran was a challenge; WFTGA accepted it and proved the necessary neutrality. I admit, it was not always easy. To continue our line of conventions with our bidder from USA would have been another proof – but neighbour Georgia in S-Caucasus won: I hope to unite many of my friends and newcomers in Tbilisi in 2019!
I spent some wonderful, yet intensive years working on the Executive Board of WFTGA, for and with you, and our professional aims. For me, it was a great time with many meetings, presentations and panels. I was able to promote our profession, talk about standards and qualification, of Ethos and propriety while meeting with various tourism partners. I certainly will continue my active guiding and working as Trainer.
We all perform with the same intention: promoting and interpreting our region without obsession, receiving visitors with warmth and understanding…. Therefore I can only repeat: Welcome with WFTGA!
My best wishes to each and all of you!
FELICITAS WRESSNIG, July 2017, WFTGA President Emeritus
ABOUT NEW WFTGA MEMBERS
As part of the Membership Portfolio, Mary Kemp Clarke has become better acquainted with some of our WFTGA Members. It will take some time, to be in touch with everyone, but this will happen eventually. If you do have new contact details please forward these to firstname.lastname@example.org
so we can avoid disappointing ‘bounced back’ e-mails. With great pleasure we welcome the following new members into our World Federation:
NEW FULL MEMBERS IN 2017
Cameroon: Association de Guides de Tourisme Camerounais AGTC
Namibia: Tour Guides Association Namibia TAN
Philippines: Philippine Federation of Professional Tour Guide Associations TGFED
Puerto Rico: Association of Tour Guides of Puerto Rico
Uganda: Uganda Safari Guides Association Limited UGASAF
A big and friendly welcome to our new WFTGA Members
NEW APPROVED FULL MEMBERS IN THE PROCESS OF JOINING
Suriname: United Tour Guides of Suriname UTGS
UK Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland tourist guiding association NITGA
Ukraine: Ukrainian Tourist Guides Association
NEW INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS IN 2017
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Mladen Radic
Cuba: Carlos Carmenate Cardenas
Nepal: Bhai Krishna Khadka
Tonga: Hainite Vuki McLean
NEW APPROVED INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS IN THE PROCESS OF JOINING
Azerbaijan: Dinara Izmaylova
Nigeria: Yomi Olaitan
Oman: Yousuf Said AL Hashmi
NEW AFFILIATE MEMBERS IN 2017
Czech Republic: Jumages s.r.o.
Guyana: National Trust of Guyana
Iran: Homa Hotel Group
Turkey: Cumhuriyet University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
NEW APPROVED AFFILIATE MEMBERS IN THE PROCESS OF JOINING
Armenia: Green Travel
MARICAR DONATO is a WFTGA International Trainer and a WFTGA Area Representative. She is a Washington, D.C. Master Certified Guide and WFTGA International Trainer who regularly promotes WFTGA conventions to The Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington DC members. Since 2008, Donato has spent extensive time working with diplomats of countries that hosted past conventions, including Indonesia, Estonia, Latvia, China, Czech Republic and Iran plus Georgia in 2019. Most embassy staff offer receptions and informative meetings for guides well before the convention in their country. Donato responded to frequently asked questions on WFTGA conventions.
MARICAR ENCOURAGES ENGAGEMENT WITH OUR CONVENTION HOSTS
The last WFTGA convention in Iran was met with caution by U.S. tourist guides given its location. How were your presentations focused beforehand and how was the convention received afterwards?
“I see it as a three-way process: before, during and after the event. Before each convention, I contact diplomatic missions and arrange for meetings. In turn, they host a reception to introduce us to the country. We then do several meet ups and create a social media community to motivate guides to sign up, do some research on topics of interest like people, cuisine, curiosities, poetry and film and present it to the diplomatic staff prior to departure and get ready to experience the destination.”
“For the Iran convention, two tourist guides with Iranian connections, opened their homes to share an evening of tradition. https://youtu.be/VipZMsoAH_k We met at the Iran Interest Section to obtain our visas and presented our topics. During the convention itself, prior research allowed us to understand and appreciate the history of what we were seeing and tasting. After the convention, we were asked to share our life changing experiences to our Guild. We were invited to give presentations to students at the Persian language institute at The George Washington University and Georgetown University and share our stories.”
How does that experience transfer into promoting the January 2019 Tbilisi Convention, Georgia?
“Georgia, like Iran, is an emerging destination and there are places I would not dream of visiting without the assistance of the tourism bureau and local guides. I have been in contact with the embassy of Georgia and they have been very supportive. They will host a reception to answer our questions along with many meet ups at a newly-opened Georgian restaurant “Supra” in Washington, D.C. We will have postings in the Guild’s online monthly newsletter and discuss topics of interest. I am certain many tourist guides will want to attend this convention.” https://www.facebook.com/maricardonato/videos/10158862719055154/
How has attending WFTGA conventions changed you personally and professionally?
“I have attended 10 WFTGA conventions and I love them all because I get to meet a larger guiding community and connect with diverse cultures.”
It sounds like you made friends for life at past conventions. Is it really that profound an experience?
“It is an amazing experience and the ability to reach out as a global ambassador has given me a deeper meaning of purpose.”
INTERNATIONAL TOURIST GUIDE DAY 2018
Marking our WFTGA Foundation Day in 1985, we showcase the skills and professionalism of Tourist Guides world-wide on or around the 21 February every year. This is an opportunity for our WFTGA members to celebrate our work at local level, highlighting our communication and presentation skills, our ethos and standards, our aims for mutual cultural understanding and sustainable tourism.
As Affiliate Members of the UNWTO we ask that our members in the WFTGA celebrate ITGD 2018 inspired by the successful UNWTO Year of Sustainable Tourism, sometime near or on 21 February 2018, and
become agents of positive change….
Who better than Tourist Guides to promote positive changes regarding Travel, Enjoy and Respect. The UNWTO have a wonderful toolkit online with materials, images, and videos, all in 5 languages. If you have another theme, that is fine too. Please just raise our professional profile by celebrating and sharing your day as far and as wide as possible…
Send us more information on what your exciting plans are to celebrate ITGD 2018 and/or send us your photos, program and invitations and we will share in with our WFTGA Members: email@example.com
Much of the work encouraging new membership and connecting with guides around the world is undertaken by our volunteer team of appointed Area Representatives. They look after language issues and attend to regional news so that our WFTGA message of professional standards, networking and improving the image and conditions for tourist guides reaches as many colleagues as possible. We plan to re-introduce a WFTGA Area Representatives meeting during our next Convention in Tbilisi in 2019. We have HUGE gaps and I personally welcome enquiries from anyone who would like apply to become a WFTGA Area Representative to cover remoter or areas which we have not properly covered yet. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org please. The WFTGA require committed, hard-working, self-organised and genuine applicants for this role – our Area Representatives often are the local face of our whole Federation and therefore carry a huge responsibility on their shoulders!
ABOUT WFTGA AREA REPRESENTATIVES
We are lucky to have the following team of enthusiasts in place as our current WFTGA Area Representatives:
Central and East Africa: Daniel Mbevo
North Africa and the Middle East: Walid El Batouty
North America shared: Felix Shuster
Central America plus help with USA: Holly Jensen
South America shared with Peru and Brazil in particular: Patricia Oviedo Vela
South America shared: Tamara Levinson
Caribbean shared: Maxine Blake
Caribbean and Philippines: Maricar Donato
South and East Asia shared: Govind Agrawal
South and East Asia shared: Roger Rajah
Western Europe- France, Germany, Switzerland: Saber Hassan
Eastern Europe shared: Marián Bilačič
Eastern Europe shared and Caucasus: Stanislav Voleman
South Europe and East Mediterranean: Smaro Touloupa
Oceania – Australia and New Zealand: Ellen Bradley
Find the list on http://www.wftga.org/area-representatives
WFTGA TRAINING DIVISION
STEVE MCAULEY, WFTGA Lead International Trainer and EXBO Head of the WFTGA Training Division
Things are busily happening in the training division.
- Cyprus courses, Train the Trainer and International Trainer the Trainer, are starting next week
- Hands on Guide Training and Train the Trainer for Russian speakers starting in three weeks in Yerevan Armenia – There is still room if people are interested.
- Train the trainer in Republic of Georgia in December. This is for Russian speakers living in Georgia.
We have just successfully trained a large intake of guides, both English and Russian speaking in Kyrgyzstan. The courses were led by Ivana Curuvija and Sakina Askerova.
- Train the Trainer and /or Hot in Kazakhstan in January. Dates to be confirmed
- Train the trainer in Georgia. This is for English speaking guides living in Georgia.
WHAT IS IN YOU TG BAG?
ESTHER BANIKE, WFTGA Vice President
Whether they guide on safari, trek up mountains, cross the sea or point out skyscrapers, tourist guides need to carry “guide stuff.” Some items are basic, such as itinerary copies and site information, but look inside a guide’s bag and you’ll find equipment and gadgets that are as unique as an area-specific location.
This writer decided to take you along for a peek into the guide bags of WFTGA members from three countries. What we find inside might give you fresh ideas for what to bring on tour – or inspire you to tidy-up your briefcase or tote bag in case we examine your bag next time!
JASEM ZAITON (Dubai, UAE)
I use head phones for my phone sometimes, and certainly use it discreetly to reply on emergency phone if I have an operation going on. I must say I carry almost always my laptop too… and I do also try to keep a DVD with me for a short promotional film about the destination I guide in.
I always carry a picture book relevant to architecture achievement in the UAE; also one with pictures of members of the ruling family. And for each tour, I bring a different book, depending on where I am guiding, that can be shared with guests to pick up the title, something that they can read.
I have always in my bag a bottle of perfume, antibacterial liquid, my two mobiles, emergency charge bank for battery charging. There is a pen, set of IDs including my blood donation and first responder Ids. Business cards, small souvenirs and a USB are always with me. I carry also a soap and talc powder and deodorant too ☺ you never know how long the day is going to be.
YONI SHAPIRA (Jerusalem, Israel) (Guide Bag items are indicated by bold underlined text)
Guiding the Holy Land is a challenge, and probably within it the biggest challenge is guiding the old and ancient city of Jerusalem. We cover Jerusalem during the Biblical period from about Abraham to the Second Temple Period (3800 BC – 1 century AD) and that tour takes place in The City of David and underground passages, water channels and grottos, taking you through several Historical and Archaeological strata and periods.
Probably the most important thing there is putting the sites and the archaeological evidence into a tangible perspective by using Biblical quotes from the Old and New Testament, describing the time, place, event and context from the days of King David, through the great Prophets, to the days of Jesus walking the same trails. So a good cross reference Bible will be at hand.
It is an amazing emotional transformation when tourists realize that the deep, underground water channels we walk through with flash lightswere dug in about 720 BC by King Hezekiah. Coming out at Siloam pool, where Jesus healed the blind, and walking on the 1st Century street creates a different experience. Since in the summer, after coming out from the cool water, we may be getting into the 40 degrees centigrade heat, it is important to include hats in my guide bag in addition to drinking water.
The complexity of the historical Time Line, and trying to concentrate into a day 4000 years of history means I need a Time Ruler that puts time periods and archaeological periods into a linear line. I usually give the Time Line as a book mark for the kids in the group.
Heading into the old City of Jerusalem – Holy sites, Churches, The Western Wall, The Dome of the Rock and the development of 19th century Jerusalem requires a whole different set of accessories and visual aids. Now days I am working on putting it all onto an electronic tablet rather than having to carry a heavy display-sleeve file.
GENE REYES (New Orleans, USA)
Besides the basic “must-have” items New Orleans guides carry all year, Mardi Gras season requires particular attention. During the Mardi Gras season a significant portion of my New Orleans City Tour occurs on historic and beautiful St. Charles Ave. We are on the avenue at least three quarters of the time and follow the traditional parade route that most of the larger and most famous „KREWES“ still use today.
About 2-3 hours before the parade I play a CD of Mardi Gras music to let my customers get a preview of what the Mardi Gras parade will be like. Already hordes of people – locals and visitors – are lined up on both sides of the avenue to „GET THEIR SPOT“ long before the parade begins.
Believe it or not, I formerly carried voo-doo dolls to give away but now use large-bead necklaces as rewards for my New Orleans trivia quiz. Everyone enjoys wearing the larger and more colourful beads today because it immediately signifies them as a PARTICIPANT and not as an OBSERVER. I also wear brightly coloured hats to put my tourists in the Mardi Gras spirit. Mardi Gras is still „THE GREATEST FREE SHOW ON EARTH“ and I encourage you to experience it at least once in your lifetime.
WHAT’S IN YOUR GUIDE BAG?