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Is Tour Guiding For You?

Posted on 21/05/2012 by

As we are about to launch our new e-book on being a tour guide, we thought we’d ask ITC staff member Sarndra Stephens about her experiences in the role.

What do you think makes a great tour guide?
“Firstly, you need to be passionate about the country you are showcasing and the places you visit. You also need to be extremely friendly, outgoing, open minded, professional and super organised.

“And you need to be able to think on your feet. I was once caught with a group between destinations due to floods. We ended up having a spontaneous mid-winter Christmas at a lodge that wasn’t on our itinerary and we had a hilarious, fantastic night.”

Is being a tour guide hard work?
“It is hard work, as you are pretty much on the job 24/7; but it’s so much fun because you are always on the go, visiting exciting places and doing amazing things with people who are enthusiastic about experiencing and finding out about your country.”

What are some of the challenges?
“You do need to do your research, as you get asked all sorts of questions and you are expected to be able to find answers to pretty much all of them.

“You can’t be prepared for all of them though! An older gentleman once asked me what the breed of cows was we were passing in a field. I had no idea at all! I told him I would look it up on the internet for him. Later that day I researched several different types of New Zealand cows and when I imparted all this newfound information to him he was absolutely delighted!”

“You need to keep your sense of humour too, as people don’t always think before they ask you a question. A passenger once asked me: ‘If I ring home, will my mum be there?’”

What are some of the best things about the role?
“I loved taking clients through New Zealand and getting to see the country in all the different seasons.

“I also loved being able to experience so many different things – to be a great tour guide you have to do all the activities yourself so that you can sell them effectively. The good news is that you get to do all these activities free of charge!

“I have tandem skydived, bungy jumped, parasailed, been glacier walking, white water rafting and whale and dolphin watching and so much more. It was an amazing job.”

To learn more about our new Tourguiding e-book and our other online resources, go to the ITC Online Store at:

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