No matter how big or small your holiday park or tourist accommodation is, you need to have a local information guru who can point tourists and guests in the right direction and perhaps show them around and provide an authentic tourism experience.
Your local guide should be someone with the skills to provide visitors with adequate knowledge about the local area. They should be reliable and knowledgeable and be able to show their passion for the area to tourists. If you don’t have a local guide within your staff, they can be trained and hired through private tour agencies, associations or programs.
The Roles of Local Guides
- Local tour guides perform many or all of the following roles. They:
- Lead and guide tourists for their tours.
- Recommend best restaurants, hotels, attractions, activities and shopping.
- Interpret and present local sites and places of interest.
- Help solve problems and questions tourists might have.
- Deliver local culture, values, people’s lifestyles, tradition and beliefs to tourists.
- Are local ambassadors who protect the culture, society and environment
In contrast to the non-local guide, the local guide is a live-in resident, known locally, is more likely to be familiar with the area and has a strong link to the community.
Different Types of Local Guides
Indigenous Cultural Guides
Indigenous local tour guides are part of the fabric of the site and their role is to interpret the value of the area within their own cultural context. Indigenous local guides have seven roles:
- Instrumental leadership.
- Social leadership.
- Interactionary mediatorthey tell dreamtime stories and explain traditional indigenous values).
- Resource management.
- Environmental interpreter.
Apart from their roles as guides, they are the only legitimate mediators who can explain the indigenous culture, with its specific and hidden rules, to tourists. Indigenous local guides not only bring you economic benefits, they help preserve their culture, their lands and their cultural community.
If your holiday accommodation has indigenous heritage sites, you might want to consider getting an indigenous local guide.
The World Conservation Union defines Ecotourism as ‘an environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying features) that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement in local populations.’
Ecotourism promotes the conservation of natural areas and provides you with economic profit by charging entrance fees and through tourist expenditures.
The local guides play an important role in educating visitors about the local area, while emphasising the importance of protecting it. In doing so, tourists receive related knowledge on nature which could improve their environmental awareness.
So if your holiday park is near some local preserved park area or natural site, it might be a good idea to invest in an ecotourism guide.
The Importance of Having a Good Local Guide
The local guide’s multiple roles and responsibilities show that they vital actors for tourists’ experience of the destination and the culture.
Visitors may judge your accommodation or the area’s attractiveness based purely on the guide’s attitude or behaviour.