Participants from almost 90 countries were united in a three-day long virtual conference 4-6 March 2021 arranged by the WFTGA (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) – the first of its kind for Tourist Guides by Tourist Guides with the theme “The Future of Tourist Guiding”.
The days discussions were much about how to prepare for the life after the pandemic: expectations from both client and employer, new work conditions, work and technology opportunities and health protocols and storytelling. The last year has been a learning period of what is important and how to handle the new reality. And the qualified tourist guides are ready.
Guides worldwide share the same experience of having lost all assignments and income during the pandemic. This has also meant plenty of time to plan for life after covid-19.
The WFTGA conference this year was joined by 720 qualified tourist guides from almost 90 countries. They were given interesting lectures from speaker’s, experts in trends, guiding skills, new techniques and technology, cooperation and more. The program included panel discussions, case studies, round tables and social activities.
There is a great hunger among people worldwide to be able to travel again. Signs today indicate that when travelling starts again it will be more families and generations travelling together than before. And what everyone wants now, apart from seeing and experiencing something new, is lots of wellness and more human contact than before (after months of virtual and digital).
The best way to experience a new place is to make use of a local qualified tourist guide. They optimize the visit by spending the days with the guests and advising in what to do or go, adapting the program to visitors’ interest and abilities, incorporating their knowledge and experience. Tourist guides can help visitors feeling safe by facilitating the understanding of local health protocols and finding the best and most spectacular outdoor places they might otherwise not find. Sustainable tourism couldn´t be more important than now: the feeling that travel has a meaning and purpose and is beneficial to the local community, environment and participating in the local economy adds to the experience. Tourist guides are an important part in all of this.
“The virtual conference presented an opportunity to Tourist Guides worldwide to identify ways and ideas that they are able to incorporate in preparing for the future of Tourist Guiding”, says Alushca Ritchie, president of WFTGA.