The convention for professional tourist guides
Every two years, the WFTGA holds an International Convention where participants attend lectures, workshops, round-tables, panel discussions and tours in the locality.
At the same time and location as the biennial Convention, the WFTGA holds its General Assembly for Delegates who represent our Full Member Associations, to discuss current matters, choose the location of the next Convention following bidding country presentations, elect the officers of the WFTGA Executive Board, and attend to Policies and Procedures.
These Conventions also offer pre-Convention and post-Convention tour packages for the Participants, Delegates and Accompanying Persons.
Our Goal is to connect tourist guides worldwide
Convention Hosting Requirements
The official WFTGA Convention Bidding Document for 2026 will be available from 15th March 2023. Final Bids for the 2026 convention will be presented at the 2024 convention in Italy. (Pending a possible elimination round should there be an overwhelming quantity of approved bids.)
Bids must be presented by a Full Member of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. This member must be in good standing and may submit the bid with the support of a Convention and Visitor Bureaux and/or Tourism authority or similar.
Please note there are early requirements to meet before offering a bid. Contact [email protected] for more information about bidding.
I will start by giving you my own experience. In 2000, the Scottish Tourist Guides Association suddenly decided that it might be a good idea encouraged by WFTGA Past President Jane Orde who was herself in poor health but it was her dearest wish that the WFTGA Convention would come to her home country. We formed a committee and decided that we would present our bid at the Convention in Cyprus in 2003. I was privileged to make that bid.
Our first task was to get the support of our Tourist Board and Convention Bureau. We did that and they agreed to sponsor part of my flight to Cyprus and to provide us with a presentation to take with me. It was my first experience at a WFTGA Convention and I was immediately impressed by the friendship and solidarity from our colleagues from around 40 countries. I had not realised how much we all had in common and how much we could support one another. I nervously made the bid on behalf of Scotland and I was delighted when it was accepted. Then I returned home and the hard work started and slight panic set in. What had we done? Scotland is a very small country with a population of 5.3 million and we only had 300 members.
- Then we set about forming a steering committee. This is vital if the Convention is to be a success. You need a group of committed volunteers who are willing to spend a large amount of time organising the Convention. You must have one or two people who will take the lead and make sure everything happens and on time. Who has experience of organising or working for conferences?
- You need to secure sponsorship – this was our hardest task. First of all we approached all those we knew in the industry – the tourist board of course but also the main attractions we work with – we didn’t ask them for cash – we knew we were unlikely to get it. We asked for things – bags from the tourist board; gifts from the retailers; free entry from the attractions; free coaches from our friendly coach companies; hotel to sponsor a coffee break or lunch; museum to sponsor a reception; castle to sponsor the gala dinner; florist to sponsor the flowers etc. Lots of little things. Then we approached our bank and asked them for cash. Once you have some sponsorship it is easier to get the rest. It is a constant task and you must keep at it until you have the amount you need. If you get more then you can add extras for the participants, which will make your Convention memorable.
- Insurance – this is essential in case of cancellation or poor numbers or some other means of protecting your association – in Scotland we formed a separate limited company to organise the Convention. Others have used DMCs who have their own guarantees.
- You need to decide on the hotel – it must have a meeting place for everyone plus breakout rooms for the workshops; office for ExBo; meeting room for delegates etc
- You need to decide on the tours – do you want to organise this yourselves or would you like to consider joining with another association – e.g. our pre tour was in England – organised by the Guild of Registered Tourist Guides and our post tour was in Scotland – organised by ourselves.
- Are you going to use a DMC? We didn’t – we organised everything ourselves but we have an office that could take the bookings. If you do use a DMC – they work for you not the other way round – do not let them take over. That mistake could cost you money – they will make it and you won’t.
- Are your members supportive? They may need to be persuaded and gradually as the time gets closer try to get as many as possible involved. We used about 80 volunteers over the week of the Convention. Guides need to meet & greet, man the hospitality desks, give the tours, including any pre and post tours, help with the AV, help the speakers. Give the guide volunteers specific tasks and have a “war plan” to keep everything organised. The guides who give the tours must be your very best – guides are the most critical audience you can have!
- What about speakers – do you have ideas for speakers and workshops. WFTGA will provide one keynote speaker but the host country normally sources the rest.
Your association will benefit from the team-working and solidarity involved.
You will gain a huge amount of PR and respect in your own country, with government bodies and industry partners and this will last long after the event if you use it well.
You will be able to promote your country to tourist guides who in turn will tell their countrymen and women about your wonderful welcome and you may well get more visitors in the long term.
Your members will know that they have colleagues around the world with the same issues and challenges as themselves and for the first time they can all attend the Convention in their own country
You will get a great buzz from the event itself. I will never forget 200 hands joined together in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle, singing Auld Land Syne just 18 months after September 11th. Or our colleagues from South Africa singing their own songs – truly the Hands Across the World, which WFTGA epitomises in its logo.
- In order to bid successfully for the WFTGA Convention you must fully understand the bid document. Please contact [email protected] if you are unsure of anything.
- If you are well prepared and have done everything possible to ensure that your bid is ready; if you believe that you can answer all questions about your bid honestly without hesitation or doubt; if you have all the supporting documents in writing then when speaking to other delegates about your bid and why they should come to your region you will be able to answer them with complete confidence and respect. Then your association will have its best chance of winning.
- WFTGA reserves the right to change deadlines, and any other relevant criteria at any point in time. All interested bidders will be communicated to.
- Those who are interested in bidding must send the Executive Board, by 15th August their Intention to Bid in writing – please send by email to [email protected]. This shows us that your association is interested and you would like to prepare a bid and proposal. This must be done by filling out the application and sending us the required documents. Any Intention to Bid received after August 1st will not be accepted.
- EXBO will inform each bidding country who else is bidding, so that you are all aware which countries you are bidding against. EXBO will also ensure that all bidding countries’ Bids are equal and on an even par. Prices will be disclosed to ensure you are able to compete fairly. Each bidding country will receive the same treatment to ensure all have a fair chance at winning to host.
- You will have until 15th October 2023 to prepare your final Bid and written proposal. We will then verify to ensure that your proposal is correct, that nothing is missing, your budget and costing are correct and all the components are there. You may send in your proposal earlier if it is ready and we will look it over together and assist you with the planning. Final Bids received after the deadline will not be accepted and we cannot offer assistance after that date.
- Once your bid has been accepted you will be permitted to post it on the internet, your website and the WFTGA website . You will then be permitted to make your Bid presentation to all the participants at the convention in 2024. Only official Delegates representing their countries and associations will be allowed to vote. Executive Board Members have no vote on future conventions. Bid presentations must include a member of the tourist guide association which is a member of WFTGA.
- WFTGA reserve the right to implement an elimination round should the quantity of bids received exceed the maximum amount of allowable bidding countries.