On 21 February Tourist Guides worldwide celebrate International Tourist Guide Day. However, activities and events dedicated to our ITGD take place over a much longer period and take many shapes and forms – from big conferences, lectures, awareness raising campaigns, showcasing our profession, beach cleans to small meetings of tourist guide colleagues who met at WFTGA Conventions or FEG meetings.
The Approved Tourist Guides of Ireland (ATGI) are in a painstaking process of reviewing their role in tourist guide training in Ireland. I had the pleasure of meeting the ATGI Committee in Dublin on 23 February for a full day strategy meeting. I was delighted to share my experiences as former Board Director and Training Manager for my own Tourist Guide Association in Scotland (STGA), and from looking after the training portfolio for both FEG and WFTGA. Most if not all officials of tourist guide associations and federations are hard-working volunteers. Therefore it is important to share experiences and learn from one another – avoid duplication, making the same mistakes and re-inventing the wheel. This is part of the real legacy of a Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. We are about capacity building, not empire building. Even if it is not immediately visible, many of the activities for our ITGD will plant the seeds for future generations of professional tourist guides the world over.
Viola Lewis – Blue Badge Tourist Guide for Scotland | Tourist Guide Trainer worldwide | current Head of WFTGA Training Division