‘Preparation essential for being a good tour guide’
PREPARATION is a key component in being a competent tour guide, said tour operators during a workshop held at the Tutong District Office yesterday.
The workshop was attended by around 20 Tutong residents who aspired to take on the role of tour guides.
Bohari Abdullah, an invited guest speaker to the workshop and tour operator, said preparation and good planning are the most essential parts of tour guiding.
“For example, if people come to your house during Hari Raya, you need to know where the toilet is and assure them that it’s clean and operable. The same goes for tour guiding. You need to know the location of basic human necessities and make sure they’re working,” he said.
Bohari said tour guides need to be steps ahead of tourists they are attending to, always being ready for any event.
He also emphasized the importance of deposits by tourists when they pay for their tour package.
“If you take tourists on the bus, it may be that they may have forgotten something like their mobile phone back at the hostel. What are you to do then? Turn back and get it for one tourist?
“This is when you need extra help from anyone that can retrieve it for you, like taxi drivers for example. So the deposits are for the extra costs as well as part of the preparation,” he said, adding that good planning is essential for a good tourist business.
He added that you also need to be observant as a tour guide and act as a constant reminding force for foreign or local visitors.
“Before boarding the bus, you need to remind them of any important valuables they may have forgotten. As they board the bus, remind them to be careful. Remind them to watch their head for the compartment door when they take their luggage from under the bus,” Bohari said.
He added that a good quality tour guide must be alert every step of the way, leaving a good lasting impression on tourists which will make them want to come back and visit Brunei.
Roger Robert Rajah, an executive board member of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations and involved in the tourism industry since 1986, said that being a tour guide, one needs to be extraordinarily tolerant of other people and their religions.
He went on to say that in the tourism industry, a guide will deal with people from all over the world with various backgrounds.
Growing up with parents and grandparents of four separate religions, Rajah said a tour guide should aim to be open minded toward other people’s cultures and ways, always knowing the correct and suitable way in dealing with them.
“It may be that in their life and society, a particular action may be seen as normal for them but absurd for us. As tour guides, we have to be understanding,” he said.
He said tour guides are the “face” of the country and represent the people for visiting tourists.
“Bad tour guides give the impression of a bad country, and people don’t want to go to a bad country. Now with social media, people will talk about their experiences and word will spread quick. We have to be careful not to let this happen,” he said.
Yesterday concluded the second and last day of the workshop with the participants receiving certificates.
The Brunei Times