Qualified Guides focus on skill enhancement to combat Covid and work loss

Published by Jane Pursell Briggs
Date 28/03/2023

Responses from qualified tourist guides across Europe to a survey carried out by the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) conducted in February-March 2023, referring to their guiding work in 2022, paint a more optimistic picture for the future than seen in the previous two pandemic years. A significant increase has been seen in guided tour bookings with an expectation of more for the future; this tempered by the loss of many qualified guides who have had to seek employment elsewhere and who have abandoned the profession, for which many became qualified after huge sacrifices and a long period of study.

The abandonment of state help - even where it existed - only 11% of the guides replying received state support in 2022 – led our colleagues to some work loss and to the search for “guaranteed” employment. However, the vast majority of guides (77%) did not have more than 20% of their booked work cancelled within 2022, with the exception of some neighbouring countries strongly affected by the war in Ukraine, while most of the guiding work in general came from inbound visitors and less from their domestic tourism.


As in previous studies, almost 90% of the guides who completed the FEG annual online survey are self-employed, and are therefore more subject to market fluctuations than employed guides. The majority of guides who replied (71%) are very experienced, and have been practising the profession for more than 10 years. For most, tourist guiding is their only source of income, and for some their main source of income.

Most of the guides improved their skills and gained new qualifications by taking the opportunity to attend courses and seminars by learning or improving foreign languages, internet and social media marketing, guiding niche markets, on sustainable tourism, educational tours, field trips, lectures on history, archaeology, art history, food or wine tours and oenology courses, story-telling, hiking & trekking tours, virtual tours, first aid, voice training, hospitality, project management, teaching.

The FEG courses and webinars which many tourist guides from across Europe attended during the 2022-2023 low season, such as T-GUIDE on Guiding People with Learning Difficulties, Tourism for All, Guiding UNESCO World Heritage Sites or Internet Marketing for Tourist Guides proved to be useful tools for their micro-credentials in their everyday work.

Jane Pursell Briggs

Certified Tourist Guide & FEG Secretariat

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