WOTGA

10 Things to know about the Wales Official Tourist Guides Association (WOTGA)

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

Wales Official Tourist Guides Association was formed after Wales became a devolved Nation in 1992. Our Blue Badge Qualification is mapped directly to the European Standard EN15565.

We learn from and share ideas with the British Guild of Tourism, and the Institute of Tourist Guiding. Some of our members have membership of those organisations

There is no fixed headquarters for WOTGA as it is an expense that we can dispense with. The Chairman, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer will respond to enquiries.


Nature © WOTGA

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

Our Mission is to be Wales Best Guides. We have named our website www.walesbestguides.com

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

The cost of training through the University system has become prohibitively expensive given the likely income in the first three years after qualification, so this year we have trained our own guides to be become trainers and we are running our own first “Green Badge” course which meets the standards demanded by FEG. We have divided Wales into three Regions for a Green Badge. South East Wales, South West Wales and North Wales. Next year we will top this up with Blue Badge for all of Wales. Only those with a Green Badge or significant prior learning will be able to join that course in the first instance.

This was due to the nature of work in Wales as there no cities the size of London, Manchester, Bristol or Birmingham.

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

From 2020 we will be regularising our hitherto voluntary Continuing Professional Development to become obligatory. A minimum of 20 hours per year but the expectation of 40 hours annually. We are well supported by courses and lectures led by CADW (Welsh ancient monuments department) Visit Wales and the National Museum of Wales which has 7 main themed Museums spread across Wales:- (Art, Welsh Life, Coal, Wool, Slate and National Waterfront and Roman).

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

We have just update our Blue Badges so that they have the Welsh Government Dragon and they are personalised. Please note that all public documents in Wales are written in both Welsh and English.


6. How many qualified tourist guides are members of WOTGA?

We are a small organisation entirely run by our members.

We have approximately 50 working guides in the Association.

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

Why have a Guide? Only those who live here really know the Welsh heart, soul and mind. Only the guide can really explain what is meant by the Welsh words “hiraeth” or “cwtch” . Wales is called the Land of our Fathers because the Welsh are so passionate about their heritage and future. A tourist would not be able to feel this without a guide’s story telling.

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

Why visit Wales? There is one simple answer - It is a hidden gem. Despite being small it is very diverse and it meets the dreams of most travelers. Glorious and diverse mountainous landscape and fabulous coast with sandy as well as rocky beaches, ancient historic castles which seem to mould into their surroundings, good food, wonderful walking, cycling, surfing, kayaking, sailing and swimming. Rich culture of music, myth and magic and of course there is the national game of Rugby and many other sports.

Wales has more castles per square mile than anywhere else so chose at least three as they all have histories and features depending on when and where they were built. In the North Caernarfon, Harlech, Conwy, Beaumaris and Rhuddlan. In the south Cardiff, Chepstow, and Caerphilly are easily visited by coach.

Seaside towns of Tenby, Llandudno and Aberystwyth are all full of history, ice-cream and stories.

Don’t miss St David’s Cathedral in the South West. The spiritual home of St David our Patron Saint. A place of pilgrimage. Indeed in the North find a Holy Well such as St Winfred’s to refresh your health.

Take time to walk in at least one range of hills or mountains such as the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia.

Go down a Coal mine at the Big Pit or a slate mine at Llechwydd in Blaenau Festinniog.

It is nearly impossible to select - forgive me for all those others that I have no space to include.


Llannfair PG © WOTGA

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

A few tips for visitors.

  • Bring a waterproof jacket and good walking shoes.
  • Be prepared for taking longer than you expect to reach your destination as there are practically no straight roads except for the M4. The most spectacular roads are often the narrow windy hill roads where no coach can go!! GPS is a good idea.
  • Love the outdoors - we are not really a city based country!
  • There are a lot of steps and very little totally flat land.
  • The road signs are in Welsh and English - try and pronounce them.
  • Remember Wales is Wales it is not England !
  • There are some wonderful little trains in the hills such as up Mount Snowdon or from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge is stunning scenery.
  • Bring some binoculars if you like birds and other wildlife.
  • Be ready to sing

10. Where can potential visitor to Wales find our more information about WOTGA and also find a qualified tourist guide?

Look on our website for lots more ideas and to find a guide on www.walesbestguides.com

Click on a region to find a guide near you.