KN now owns his own trekking agency in Nepal
M. 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 a government licence holder guide.
M. Do you think it’s important to have good customer service skills beforehand or can these be learned on the job?
KN. Yes this is most important point for the job.
M. What do you like best about the job?
KN. New people
M. How many tours did you run?
KN. Many, especially in Nepal,Tibet and Bhutan
M. Which was your favourite destination?
KN: Nepal (Everest base camp trek 14 days)
M. Did you have any ‘near miss’ or dangerous encounters?
KN. Not yet.
M. What are you most proud of in your tour guide career?
KN Giving tourists what they want
M. What was the biggest lesson you learned?
KN. Mountain rescue
M: Do you think being with you on tour made a difference to the customers’ or the local people’s lives? And if so, and anyone were to ask you what difference you made to others’ lives what would you say?
KN. We are serious about Responsible Tourism and helping locals
M. Which was the most challenging country to work in? Why?
KN. Tibet – Communist rule and dominated by the State of China with tight rules and rigid formulae
M: What did you personally get out of doing the job?
KN. Meeting the public
M. Do you think knowing the local language makes a big difference to the way you can do the job?
M. How much support did you get from your employers? Did they give you a detailed tour manual with contacts, advice, recommendations by previous guides?
KN. As an employer myself I have full support from my staff and I admire their work
M. Did you work with regional guides or were you pretty much on your own? If so, were they easy to work with?
KN. I have a few permanent guides and I use regional porters and helpers
K. Have you ever been a driver/guide?
KN. No I have not.
M. Did you need special skills like knowing about vehicle mechanics, how to do basic repairs and so on?
KN. Our drivers know about that – we don’t need to pay extra for drivers
M. Did you get adequate training from your employer before going on tour? If not, how do you think they could have done it better?
KN. Our guides are area trained and we provide them with
M. Did you ‘shadow’ a guide as part of your training?
M. Did you know what to expect when you started working?
KN I hoped and expected to be the owner one day.
M. Did you know much about people from other cultures before you started? And what did you learn about them?
KN. I learned from them and now we teach each other
M. Did you get adequately paid or did you have to rely on tips? Were all your personal expenses covered?
KN. It is up to clients
M. How much tour documentation did you have to do? Did you have to post a report after every tour?
M. Were you aware of all your responsibilities before you started? Would you still have done the job if you had known?
KN. Yes, yes
M. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
KN. Get training and learn some ideas before starting
M. Did you already have leadership skills or did you learn these the hard way?
KN. I had them already
M. How regularly did you have to communicate with your employer? How did you do that – phone, fax, email?
KN. By phone
M. How did you get the job? Did you have to apply then have an interview? Or did you get the job through personal contacts?
KN. I got the job from personal contacts