Being a tour guide is a good sideline because of the low startup cost and the ready market all year long. Once confined to the summer season tourism has now become a year round enterprise due to the influx of Chinese, Korean and other tourists in the country. Many Filipinos are also more eager to explore the tourist spots in the country rather than going overseas.
But contrary to popular belief being a tour guide is not just leading tours but actually requires some training according to Carlos Celdran who has been organizing and facilitating tours of Metro Manila for years. Here are some of the things you need to start a successful tour operation.
Get government accreditation
An important yet often overlooked aspect of being a tour guide according to Celdran is securing government accreditation. The accreditation is required for anyone or any company dealing in tourism be it hotels, travel agencies, and tour agencies.
The requirements for accreditation with tour guides are basic training in life support from the Red Cross, certificate of good health from a government physician, and NBI clearance. For mountain and cave guides they will need accreditation from DOT recognized cave and mountaineering groups. Getting accreditation gives the applicant certain perks such as inclusion in DOT activities and priority access in airports.
Know the environment, culture and history
In order to be an effective tour guide you need to know the culture and history of the area. Celdran says "You are the frontline of the Philippines so you need to put your best foot forward.” Interesting facts and nuggets of trivia would go a long way in making the tour more enjoyable. Celdran himself says that his years working with Heritage Conservation Society helped prepare him by orienting him with the history of the tourist spots and instilling a love for these spots.