Budding tourist guides are being sought to help show off North East England region to visitors from the UK and all over the world.
A new and updated Tourist Guide training programme starting in 2019, and lasting for one year will help applicants to qualify for the highly prestigious “Blue Badge”, as awarded by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. For a tourist guide, earning a Blue Badge is like a chef receiving a Michelin Star.
This course hopes to boost numbers of self-employed guides in the region to compliment the growth of tourism across the North East. There hasn’t been a training course in the North East for around 10 years so for many this is their first chance to get involved.
The training programme will teach candidates to deliver interesting, factual and enjoyable guided tours on foot and by coach, so that visitors can fully appreciate and enjoy the region’s fascinating cities, towns and villages, buildings, history, characters, economy and countryside.
“Leisure and business tourism is an increasingly important part of the North East economy” said Course Director David Waite. “Visitors’ expectations are high and to ensure the highest possible standards we are applying for accreditation by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. Once accredited, the programme will meet stringent criteria that can provide professionally trained Tourist Guides who can offer high quality tours. We believe this will encourage more people to visit our fascinating region and to enjoy it to the full.”
What makes a good guide? A guide needs a good, clear speaking voice and smart appearance. They must be knowledgeable about the North East and able to convey that knowledge in an engaging, entertaining manner.
They need to be a ‘people’ person and they also require patience and stamina to cope with long days. They should be well-organised, punctual, and familiar with research techniques on the internet.
The training programme can teach people many of the facts and figures needed to do the job and help with the development of ‘tourcraft,’ but each guide brings their own personality to the job. Training also includes the business side of tourist guide work and marketing.
Applicants can be from any background, although those with a special interest in the North East of England region and fluency in languages are being especially sought.