Intercultural Tour Guide Qualification

When we travel, we leave familiar territory and are faced with new impressions. We visit countries on all continents – but hardly know their rules of the game. How easily, however, can foreign customs and traditions be misunderstood? Or the religious and political conditions in the host countries might make us feel insecure. Local tour guides therefore play an important role as interpreters and facilitators between cultures. They open doors and facilitate intercultural encounters – and thus also a change of perspective which is so often needed in order to learn to understand other living environments.

That’s why the Institute for Tourism and Development has for more than two decades organised “Intercultural Tour Guide Qualification“ seminars. These intercultural seminars are designed for tour operators, travel agents, public institutions of the tourism sector or tour guide associations that would like to improve the competencies of their tour guides. The positive reactions of the participants bear out the successful concept of the Institute for Tourism and Development. The team of trainers already held more than 140 seminars in more than 20 different countries, with more than 2000 tour guides participating. In the past few years demand again increased and additional modules are being developed.

The seminars impart the necessary technical, methodological and social competencies, so that intercultural learning can take place – for everybody involved. The tour guides also learn to better understand the cultural background, personal expectations and behaviour of tourists. Tactfully imparting every day culture of another country is an important task – the study “Tourismus in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern“ (“Tourism in developing and newly industrialised countries”) by the Institute for Tourism and Development also confirms this. German tourists expect a lot from their tour guides: 84 percent of the people interviewed would like to get objective and credible information on countries and their people, 72 percent would like their guides to share realities of the host country in a sensitive manner. The study concludes: What tourists notice, experience and learn during their holidays essentially depends on the quality of the tour guiding services.

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