A Toast To Tour Guides, Our cultural Ambassadors

International Tourist Guide Day acknowledges the important role that tour guides play as ambassadors of our culture, history, attractions as they curate travel experiences.

By | Timothy Gikonyo

World’s International tour guides day is here with us. International Tourist Guide Day is a professional holiday celebrated each year on February 21. This observance was established by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) and has been held since 1990. This day is aimed at raising public awareness about the fact that tourist’s guides are cultural ambassadors of the regions they represent.

From the reign of Thomas Cook in the 1840’s, the intricate art of Tour Guiding has been passed down generations.  This Art has evolved from basic Informational skill to intricate tourist understanding and delivery. Tour operators date back to the times where the need for developing Itineraries, booking accommodation, planning sightseeing was rising in the mid-19th Century.

How it started

In East Africa, during pre-colonial period, tour guiding started in the form of porters, or gun bearers for old well renowned explorers or gun bearers. Natives were considered handy in the dispensation of information be it the terrain or better routes in Africa. The likes of Lord Ewart Grogan and Denny’s Finch Hatton always had bearers who were well accustomed to the native terrain.

Fast forward to the Invention of good transport systems like aircraft, rail and road – a significant skill was still missing. The dispensation of information in the various sights became a necessity, and there the skill began. In this day and age, we cannot forgo the Important role that tour guides play. I cannot agree more with Pine and Gilmore (1999) – The Experience Economy Memorable – experiences are key a competitive advantage and sustainability of any service providers. Tour guides have multiple roles in enhancing tourist experiences – from understanding tourist psychology, group dynamics and creating idiosyncrasy.

Guiding 21st Century tourists is likened to music produced by an orchestra where there are multiple sections, each of which has its own element contributing different components at different times. This day we acknowledge the important role that tour guides play as ambassadors of our culture, history, attractions as they curate travel experiences.










Happy Tour Guides day to all tour guides in Kenya whose focus is true hospitality!

Timothy Gikonyo (Tim Tim) is a Kenya Utalii College student in the “Tour Guiding & Administration” class graduating in May 2022. He is a proficient and passionate photographer, and a Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association (KPSGA) “Bronze Certified Guide”. Timothy is therefore ready to dispense his knowledge and skills, and is looking for employment opportunities in a Wildlife oriented organization. Email: timgikonyo540@gmail.com

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