10 Things to Know About the CTGA- Cyprus Tourism Guides Association

1. What year was CTGA established, and where is the headquarters?

The Cyprus Tourist Guides Association, CTGA, was established in 1964 and its headquarters are in Lefkosia, Cyprus.

2. What is the primary mission/goal of CTGA?

Its main goals are to improve professional standards, protect and support CTGA members and enhance the image of Tourist Guides. The CTGA is in close cooperation with the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and the Association of Cyprus Tourist Travel Agents (ACTA).

Cycling holidays in Cyprus © VisitCyprus

3. How does someone become a qualified tourist guide in Cyprus?

The School for Guides operates every four years to meet the needs of the Tourist Industry.

The educational programme of the School for Guides is under the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and is based on the requirements as set by the European Standard EN 15565 (2008). It is developed in collaboration with the University of Cyprus.

The school for Guides implements the European Standard CYS EN 15565(2008) and includes in its syllabus topics of regional specialization and practical training.

The common area topics are also included as they are compulsory for all guide training programmes in the EU.

The Educational Programme of the School has a duration of 693 hours of 60 minutes each.

In Cyprus, the candidate guides sit an entrance exam. To qualify for the exam the criteria are: Greek language fluency and of at least one foreign language; possible academic background; general knowledge and understanding of the country’s current issues.

Traditional Neighbourhood, © VisitCyprus

4. After becoming qualified, what are some of the professional development classes that guides typically take in Cyprus to enhance their knowledge and skills?

Qualified Tourist Guides in Cyprus maintain their qualification provided that they attend an annual conference organized by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism (former CTO). The Conference aims at offering continuous education and professional development (CPD) to Cyprus Tourist Guides. Some of them have attended an intensive course in archaeology and Byzantine art also organized by the former CTO.

Attendance to the annual conference is compulsory and an annual fee is to be paid for the renewal of the guide’s license.

5. Is there an official badge that qualified tourist guides in Cyprus wear?

The Guides in Cyprus wear a badge while on duty at all times. The badge is provided by the Ministry of Tourism. This badge is like an ID bearing a photo of the guide, which is renewed every 2 years.

Cyprus Tourist Guides Association guide badge, © CTGA

6. How many qualified tourist guides are members of CTGA, and what are their diverse backgrounds? Also, how many languages do they guide in, and do they specialize in themed tours?

There are 293 members of the Cyprus Tourist Guides Association and their background is quite diverse. Some have worked as linguists in secondary education, or as teachers in primary schools. Others have background in journalism and have experience in media and press. There are some graduates of Archaeology, Geology and some former employees in tourism related organisations.

7. What are some of the top reasons for using a qualified tourist guide in Cyprus?

The CTGA members are offered CPD training by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism through an organized Annual Conference. A variety of lectures is presented on topics and skills relevant to the needs of the profession at given times.

The International Training Centre is affiliated to the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA). Local and international professional guides and trainers use the Centre for training sessions. The Centre operates every year for a week.

Only State Licensed Tourist Guides are permitted to offer Tourist Guides services in Cyprus. While on duty they need to wear their official tourist guide badge provided by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism. Tour Managers accompanying groups may not guide unless accompanied by a state licensed Tourist Guide.

Tourist guides possess an in-depth knowledge of the cultural and natural heritage of the island. Tourist guides are trained in European and world History and culture. They offer professional tourist guiding skills and techniques which may not be found in non state guides. Most of our members are at least bi-lingual. Their linguistic skills include Arabic, Armenian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Georgian, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

Traditional Cypriot mezedes © VisitCyprus Traditional Cypriot mezedes © VisitCyprus

8. What are some of the popular places to visit in Cyprus?

With its rich history and human presence dating back to 11000 BC Cyprus is rich in archaeological sites. Neolithic sites such as Chirokitia and Kalavasos , the Paphos archaeological Park, Kourion archaeological site, Amathus, Kolossi and Limassol Castles, Idalion, Larnaca with Kition are some of the gems in the crown of the country. Early basilicas , early medieval painted churches on the mountains show a different aspect of the Cypriot heritage.

9. What are some general tips you would give to potential visitors planning a vacation to Cyprus?

For such a small country, Cyprus has many sites listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List: 10 magnificent Byzantine churches , the Chirokitia Neolithic site and the Paphos archaeological Park.

The Kourion Roman theatre, where the international festival of Ancient Greek Drama takes place every year, hosts theatrical groups from all over the world and offers its spectators a unique and genuine experience in a space filled with awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Ancient Theatre at Kourion, Cyprus © VisitCyprus Ancient Theatre at Kourion, Cyprus © VisitCyprus

Nature and Geology are no less important with the Natural Reserves of Akamas, the Salt Lakes at Akrotiri and in Larnaca, the Geopark on the Troodos Mountain. Cyprus’s picturesque beaches are the place to spot turtles visiting to lay their eggs on the hot sand.

Troodos Mountain rose from the ocean 92 million years ago as result of volcanic explosions. With is 62 geoplaces the Troodos Geopark is member of an international network of Geoparks. It is high in the list of interest for world’s geologists who can visit and study the seabed right at the top of the tallest mountain in Cyprus.

Cyprus hosts 2000 species and sub-species of flowering flora while nature trails take visitors on a unique journey through trees, streams, bridges and birds.

Visitors should plan ahead and prepare their visit to various areas of the island by hiring a guide to show them the most interesting parts of their country.

10. Where can potential visitors to Cyprus find out more information about CTGA and also find a qualified tourist guide?

Visit the Deputy Ministry of Tourism site and get a taste of delicious Cyprus ready to be explored at https://www.visitcyprus.com

Qualified Cyprus Tourist Guides are enlisted on the above site and may be contacted on an individual basis or may be provided by a Tour operator.

Organised tours are provided by Travel Agents in Lefkosia, Larnaka , Lemesos, Paphos , Troodos and Ayia Napa, on specific days of the week. There are also walking tours for those who wish to get a close-up experience of towns.

Museums offer a rich collection of artifacts belonging to archaeological fields or other vocational interest.

Some guides specialize in outdoor activities such as mountain biking, nature trails, walks, boating and boat excursions along the coast.

Excursions with guides can include village for wine making, pottery and traditional crafts. Thematic routes such as wine, cultural, religious, nature are very popular.