Interview with a Tour Guide, who now runs his own guide company!

KN now owns his own trekking agency in Nepal

 

Me: What sort of employment background did you have before becoming a Tour Guide?

KN: I was a manager with another company before starting my own agency. I was directly involved in the tourism industry as manager. I have done some trekking by myself and if I was free I used to go on village tours with my clients. Now if I’m busy, I send my staff – government licence holder guides

Do you think it’s important to have good customer service skills beforehand, or can these be learned on the job?

Yes this is most important for the job.

What do you like best about the job?

Meeting new people

How many tours have you run?

Many, especially in  Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan

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Which was your favourite destination?

Nepal (Everest base camp trek 14 days)

Have you had any ‘near miss’ or dangerous encounters?

Not yet!

What are you most proud of in your tour guide career?

Giving tourists what they want

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Mountain rescue

Do you think being with you on tour makes a difference to the customers’ or the local people’s lives? And if so, and anyone were to ask you what difference you make to others’ lives , what would you say?

We are serious about Responsible Tourism and helping locals

Which is the most challenging country to work in? Why?

Tibet  – Communist rule and dominated by the State of China with tight rules and rigid formulae

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What do you personally get out of doing the job?

I enjoy meeting the public

Do you think knowing the local language makes a big difference to the way you can do the job?

Yes

Do you work with regional guides or are you pretty much on your own?

Now I have a few permanent guides and I use regional porters and helpers

Have you ever been a driver/guide?

No I have not

Do you need special skills like knowing about vehicle mechanics, how to do basic repairs and so on?

Our drivers know about that – we don’t need to pay extra for drivers

Do your guides  ‘shadow’ an experienced  guide as part of their training?

Yes

Did you know much about people from other cultures before you started?

I learned from them and now we teach each other

How much tour documentation do your guides have to do? For example, do they have to post a report after every tour?

Yes

Were you aware of all your responsibilities before you started?  Would you still have done the job if you had known?

Yes,  and yes

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Get training and learn some ideas before starting

Did you already have leadership skills or did you learn these the hard way?

I had them already

How regularly did you have to communicate with your employer? How did you do that – phone, fax, email?

By phone

How did you get the job? Did you have to apply then have an interview? Or did you get the job through personal contacts?

I got the job from personal contacts

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