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
Which was your favourite destination?
Nepal (Everest base camp trek 14 days)
Have you had any ‘near miss’ or dangerous encounters?
What are you most proud of in your tour guide career?
Giving tourists what they want
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
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
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?
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?
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?
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?
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