How to Become a Tourist Guide
International Tourist Guides Day will be celebrated on 18 February 2016, and ahead of this event we investigate how to become a tourist guide in South Africa, what makes a good tourist guide, and how and where they find work.
Who is a Tourist Guide?
Any person who, for monetary or other reward, accompanies people who are travelling through or visiting any place within a country, and who furnishes those people with information or comments concerning a place or objects visited is defined as a Tourist Guide. Many tourist guides may also wish to run their own tour operations in which they are both tour guide and tour operator.
Categories of tourist guides
There are three categories of tourist guides:
Site Guides – these tourist guides have attained the minimum qualification in order to guide in a “limited geographical area” i.e. Hiking in the Drakensberg, visiting the Natal Battlefields, taking a day tour of Cape Town, visiting Soweto;
Provincial Guides – are qualified to take tourists around an entire province i.e. Limpopo or Gauteng;
National Guides – are permitted to conduct tours around South Africa, crossing all provincial boundaries. These guides would accompany people taking a comprehensive tour of South Africa, say, by coach.
Classification of Tourist Guides
Adventure Guides – conduct a guided adventure experience e.g. rock climbing, paddling, abseiling, etc.
Nature Guides – conduct a guided natural experience in areas such as Game Reserves, National Parks, nature conservation areas, trails, and the like. Cultural Guides – conduct a guided cultural experience in a limited geographical area such as a museum, community, wine farm, town or city.
Qualifications for tourist guides are governed by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
There are only two qualifications registered on the NQF:
1. National Certificate in Tourism: Guiding (NQF2)
2. National Certificate in Tourism: Guiding (NQF4)
Several unit standards, within the different areas of specialisation, have been clustered together to form skills programmes addressing areas of specialization, and aimed at persons wishing only to complete the specialized minimum area of learning required to guide. These skills programmes are registered by CATHSSETA (The Culture Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority) for certification purposes. The applicable unit standards are registered on the NQF. In order to register as a site guide specialising in culture, nature, or adventure guiding you need different combinations of unit standards. These rules of combination can be accessed on the CATHSSETA website, at www.cathsseta.org.za To register as a provincial or national guide you need, as a minimum, qualification at NQF level 4 plus the required unit standard for your area of specialization – You can also view these on the CATHSSETA website as given above. Note that the requirements for guide registration, including what learning programme or course is needed for which category of guiding, is the competence of the Provincial Registrars of Tourist Guides.
Tourist Guiding Training and Assessors
All tourist guide trainers and assessors have to be accredited by CATHSSETA to be able to train according to the nationally recognized standards and qualifications network.