Seminars

1. The Art of Guiding (FEG's two day course on communication skills for tourist guides)

The Art of Guiding is FEG's two day course on communication skills for tourist guides and as such meets the requirements for a communication seminar as stipulated by CEN standard EN15565:2008. The course is highly interactive to allow sharing of best practice and is of interest to all practicing tourist guides. Join us to go back to basics in analysing the main elements of the practical guiding skills and communication techniques we use in our daily work as tourist guides. The course also offers an opportunity to explore tools for thinking and acting creatively in a fast, efficient and effective way. Even experienced guides will find this a thought-provoking and stimulating update that will enliven and enhance their commentaries.

2. T-GUIDE-Guiding people with learning difficulties

T-GUIDE A certification from FEG and ENAT (European Network for Accessible Tourism) for guiding visitors with learning difficulties*. This is the final outcome of an EU funded Leonardo project, with FEG at its heart, to develop a CPD (continuing professional development) course for qualified tourist guides.Enhance your skillset and gain access to a rapidly increasing market for guides who can competently and sensitively work with this growing clientbase. To achieve the certificate tourist guides need to complete 4 stages: 1) online learning in modules each with a final assessment, 2) A further written assessment requiring consolidation of the knowledge gained in the initial modules, 3) attend a one day interactive course and 4) within 6 months of the course set up and conduct a real tour with a group of people with learning difficulties and then provide client feedback and self-evaluation in a portfolio of evidence. The intensive one day course involves practising the use of ETUL (easy to understand language), improving understanding of the functional and social aspects of disabilities and of the relevant national and EU legislation. You will participate in exercises on shared understanding of learning difficulties, developing access statements and accessible/inclusive tourism through universal design. You will develop refinements to your communication techniques and your tour planning skills.

Once you have successfully completed all four stages and are a certified T-GUIDE your name and area of qualification will be publicised on the FEG and ENAT websites.

if you are not familiar with the English expression learning difficulties you may recognize “intellectual disabilities” as corresponding more directly to the equivalent term in your language.

3. FEG-The Way Forward, covering FEG, EU and pan-European issues for Tourist Guides

Would you like to enrich your expertise about pan European issues concerning the profession of Tourist Guides in Europe? Would you like to enhance your knowledge about European Institutions and how they work? Come and join this seminar, which is an important learning experience for representatives of Tourist Guide Associations, FEG delegates, as well as all professional tourist guides, who wish to take an active role in raising awareness of the tourist guide profession. This seminar will provide you with background knowledge on FEG, its development, its aims and work to enable you to be a well-informed voice for tourist guides in your own country and in Europe. Through the expertise gained in this seminar you will be in a stronger position to lobby National and European Institutions in order to safeguard, promote and represent the interests of the tourist guiding profession in your country. This seminar gives an opportunity to look at practical strategies to influence thinking. By bringing you up-to-date with current issues concerning tourist guiding in Europe, this seminar will be useful in improving and expanding your potential to contribute towards quality and standards in today’s fast-changing world.

4. Guiding visitors with special needs

Across Europe we do not only have a moral obligation but also a legal duty to anticipate – and give due consideration to - the needs of all people and understand the challenges of access that many people face when using the services of Tourist Guides. Our visitors have a multitude of needs, which we – as Tourist Guides - need to anticipate, recognize and address whilst carrying out our professional job of interpreting the natural and cultural heritage of our area of qualification and delivering the tourism product expected and bought by our visitors. The entire tourism industry is moving towards becoming more accessible and inclusive and as usual we Tourist Guides play a crucial part in this effort. Guiding people with special needs is not rocket science. The Art of Guiding will help us along the way, as will picking up some tips and hints and practising some skills during this seminar.

5. Team work on mass movement

When working in a team of 30 to 40 guides coordination and team work are essential along with respecting timings and all details of the itinerary. We may experience less freedom of choice and control. Yet, even when itineraries are tight and demanding our visitors still want and deserve to be treated as individuals and to enjoy individual experiences. This is particularly true for guiding for large conferences, incentives, events and the cruise industry. Here is a challenge to our professionalism and an opportunity to demonstrate the true Art of Guiding! This seminar will explore how we can make this demanding type of guiding more satisfactory and enjoyable – for both tourist guides and visitors.

6. Handling difficult people

Understanding how to handle difficult people is a key part of our work as qualified tourist guides. Yet in training courses this subject area is rarely covered. All of us have experience of people who have shouted, been obstructive, rude, uncooperative, unhelpful, over-demanding or who have been difficult in other ways. The goal of this seminar is to demonstrate proven ways for tourist guides to acquire skills and become more confident in Handling Difficult People - whether visitors, tourism personnel or even colleagues! FEG has commissioned the material for this course to be written by an experienced professional trainer. The seminar will use maximum participation with delegates working as a whole group, sometimes in small teams, or pairs or individually. This is intended to give delegates a chance to both learn generally and in relation to their own past experiences. A handbook has been produced for each delegate and Certificates of successful completion will be issued. This is a seminar that should appeal to all qualified tourist guides but will be especially helpful to any qualified guide who have never covered this subject or who would like to become more confident in this area.

7. Problem solving for Tourist Guides

Guiding is a wonderful profession, especially when everything goes well and as planned. However, how do we deal with things when all is not well? This seminar aims to cover many problematic situations a tourist guide might encounter. Through interactive exercises and discussion we look at solutions and ways of dealing with problems, averting disaster, and turning a bad situation into as positive an experience as possible.

8. Best practice for guiding in museums and art galleries

We look at the discipline of museology and how much tourist guides should know about it. Why do we put things in museums? Then to aims and objectives of museum guided tours. How do we handle controversial issues such as display of human remains, objects of special local significance being taken away from the area and exhibited in a national museum in a different part of a country or indeed objects from one country displayed in another country? How do we see our guiding role in terms of sustainability and conservation? By sharing best practice we reinforce the practicalities of museum guiding. How do we ensure we make people feel relaxed, comfortable and inspired from our introduction and throughout the tour? Are we sure people know what we are talking about at all times and can see the objects being guided? What is the best way to position oneself and the group in relation to the exhibits? How do we make the best of very crowded spaces and at the same time deal fairly and professionally with other groups and individual visitors? All of this gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the true art of guiding! Nowhere more than in museums are tourist guides true cultural intermediaries and needing to be very culturally sensitive. Join us for a very interactive session – participate fully and your guiding skills will be enhanced.

9. Best practice for guiding on a coach or other moving vehicle

This seminar will freshen and sharpen participants’ skills when guiding on a moving vehicle. We concentrate on identifying best practices to be used when guiding a group of visitors on a coach, the usual vehicle we use, though we also briefly consider guiding in private cars, on watercraft, bicycles, and horse-drawn carriages. We discuss safety issues and microphone technique in the context of guiding on a coach. Whichever kind of transport we use, we normally face exactly the same challenges; that the main sights that we wish to point out to our guests are seen only briefly. Therefore it is essential that tourist guides have excellent skills in precise verbal indication and timing to make sure that our visitors are to both see and understand what we want to show them. Using videos of tour routes, live demonstrations of good and bad moving vehicle guiding are included in the seminar. In small groups or individually, participants are invited to experiment giving a commentary themselves and reviewing their own work, a unique experience in tourist guide training.

10. Best practice for guiding walking tours

Walking tours are without doubt the best way for a group of visitors to experience a new place first hand. Rather than being isolated from reality, all of the senses can be employed to build a memorable impression. Walking tours are popular with tourists not only because of the immediacy of the experience but also because they know that they will be kept safe and be well informed about points of interest on the route. In this seminar we discuss how to plan a walking tour route, how to manage a group, scheduling rest breaks, positioning the group for safety, audibility and to get the best views. Best practice with “whisper systems” is also considered. We consider how to develop commentary content with regard to storytelling, establishing links, “guiding ahead” and the selection of subject matter.

11. Guiding in sacred sites and places of worship

Most tourist guides take groups of visitors to sacred sites and places of worship as part of a normal working day. These sites are usually of high historic, artistic and cultural value. Some are now museums while have been redeveloped for totally different purposes. Many are still in active use and the tourist guide faces the greatest challenges when conducting a tour on this kind of site. In addition to the large amount of information the guide wishes to communicate about historical, architectural, artistic and cultural significance, he or she has the responsibility to ensure that group members’ behaviour conforms to established protocols. Additionally, the guide has a duty to deliver an objective, well-informed commentary. How can the guide fulfil these obligations? We consider this question with special reference to the growing incoming tourist numbers from South Asian and Far Eastern markets and the growing numbers of established market visitors who have little or no knowledge of religion.

12. Dark Tourism

This seminar focuses on the tourist guide’s responsibilities and sensitivities when interpreting history at dark tourism sites, that is, those involved with death and tragedy. We consider the types of dark sites, from dark fun factories to genocide camps, using local and international examples as case studies. The challenges involved on visits to dark sites are identified and we discuss what value the experience has for tourists. Larger questions are asked, for example whether the presence of tourists desecrates sites? whether individuals exploit sites and profit from the loss of others?, and the motivation for the growing popularity of dark tourism; is it pilgrimage or voyeurism? In the concluding discussion, we examine the tourist guide’s responsibilities at dark tourism sites and speculate on whether the tourist guide has a moral duty to influence opinions when visiting such sites.

13. Cultural awareness for Tourist Guides

Tourist Guides work with people from all backgrounds. Understanding how we put ourselves in the shoes of our visitors and, similarly, invite them to try on our shoes! A seminar to encourage an awareness of cultural sensitivities and differences, and how commonalities can overcome and bridge these.

14. Sustainable tourism and Tourist Guides

Raising awareness of Sustainable Tourism issues and principles benefits us all – tourist guides, visitors, sites and local populations. This short seminar aims to raise this awareness with the role of the tourist guide and opportunities in helping to promote and implement sustainable tourism in our own areas of guiding. We will do this by understanding a little of the history and reason for the need for sustainability in our industry, how socio-cultural, environmental and economic factors affect sustainable tourism, and how to apply best practice principles of sustainability to our daily work as guides.

15. Customer service skills for Tourist Guides

Customer Service is much talked about, but rarely fully practised. When it is, customers can turn into loyal, raving fans of a certain product or service. They will even do your marketing for you. We tourist guides are both at the receiving and giving end of customer service and know that it isn’t rocket science. It’s a habit and part of being professional. This workshop will help us remember a few simple touches of magic, which we might forget in the excitement or heat of the moment. Have you ever asked yourself - Which are the crucial moments for customer service? Who are our customers? Can I afford it? How do I know if I’m doing it right? What is in it for me? Let’s share some customer service secrets and rediscover the pride in being a tourist guide.

16. Voice

The voice is crucial to our work as tourist guides. How do we care for it and how can we improve its performance and effectiveness when delivering our commentaries? This interactive workshop will explore these important points with practical exercises. The CEN standard EN15565:2008 modules covered by this workshop include voice projection, diction, microphone use and breathing techniques. More specifically, we will look at how we keep our voice in healthy and optimal condition, how the voice is produced and what it involves, and how to breathe better. We will explore and practice ways of incorporating a variety to speech and narrative through enhancing volume, pace, emphasis, tone, modulation, expression, pitch and articulation.

17. Active Listening

Being a tourist guide is demanding and can be stressful. There are many things and many people to deal with. Communication is paramount and has two aspects – speaking and listening. We Tourist Guides pride ourselves to be excellent communicators and are undoubtedly accomplished speakers with excellent presentation skills. Active listening also is a skill and needs to be practised. During this workshop you will examine how much of a conversation we hear and how much we understand. We will be reminded of active listening techniques and will practise them. This will also help us to gain an overview of what can make listening and understanding difficult. This practical and interactive workshop focuses on the importance of listening carefully, reminds us of the associated skills and aims to show that by investing time in listening we can reduce misunderstandings and stress and make our work as tourist guides even more enjoyable.