Wales Official Tourist Guides Association was formed after Wales became a devolved Nation in 1998. Our Blue Badge Qualification is endorsed by the Welsh Government.
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.
Our Mission is to be Wales Best Guides. We have named our website www.walesbestguides.com
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.
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).
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.
We are a small organisation entirely run by our members.
We have approximately 50 working guides in the Association.
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.
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.
A few tips for visitors.
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.