Sunday, 22 February 2009

Iceland International Tourist Guide Day 21 February 2009

22.2.2009. Professional tourist guides in Iceland guided for free 85 foreign tourists around the city center of Reykjavik yesterday on International Tourist Guide Day, 21 February 2009. Stefan Helgi Valsson tourist guide organised the event.

The initiative was very well received at visitor centers, hotels and guesthouses where the event was promoted, and of course the guest who enoyed a free guided walk accompanied by a professional tourist guide.

Skúli Möller guided the first group of the day. Behind him is the Leifur Eiriksson statue commemorating an Icelander who was the first European in America.

The purpose of International Tourist Guide Day, first celebrated in 1990 because of World Federation of Tourist Guide Association (WFTGA) initiative, is to promote the profession of tourist guides and their professional education.

Ursula E. Sonnenfeld (far left) og Friðrik Rúnar Guðmundsson (far right), with some of the guests during the International Tourist Guide Day 2009.

Nearly half of the guests who enjoyed the free service of professional guides arrived for the first departure at eleven o'clock in the morning. Departures thereafter took place every half hour until three o'clock.

The guests were guided in English, German, French and Scandinavian languages. The walk started at Hallgrimskirkja Memorial Church in Reykjavik and included the old city center.

The shortes walk of the day lasted 40 minutes and the longest 2 hours as the duration of the trip depended on the demands and wishes of the guests.

Skúli Möller og John C. Spencer during International Tourist Guide Day 2009.

The weather played a role during the day. The Iceland Meteorological Office issued a storm warning for the afternoon which materialised bringing rain. The poor weather probably caused some people to refrain from a guided walk in the city. The tourist guides on the other hand were prepared for rain or shine and did not mind the weather.

Skúli Möller, Friðrik Rúnar Guðmundsson, Elín Sigríður Konráðsdóttir og Stefán Helgi Valsson (organiser) during International Tourist Guide Day 2009.

Tourist guides Elín Sigríður Konráðsdóttir, Friðrik Rúnar Guðmundsson, Hólmfríður Gísladóttir, John C. Spencer, Skúli Möller, Steingrímur Gunnarsson og Ursula E. Sonnenfeld provided guidance during the day. Also two students at the Iceland Tourist Guide School, Guðrún Þorkellsdóttir og Ólafur Tryggvi Magnússon who both performed very well. Guðjón Jensson tourist guide joined the group of tourist guides after lunchtime but by then there were already enough guides available to provide the service. Stefán Helgi Valsson tourist guide organised the event.

Elín Sigríður Konráðsdóttir guided the smallest "group" of the day. With her on the picture (right) is her only German-speaking guest, Annika from Muenchen in Germany.

Ólafur Tryggvi Magnússon student at the Iceland Tourist Guide School gets hands-on-experience in guiding visitors in Reykjavik and did a good job. Ólafur works as a graphic designer but is looking forward to a career change after graduation in May.

Tourist guides Friðrik Rúnar Guðmundsson, Skúli Möller, Guðrún Þorkellsdóttir (student at the Iceland Tourist Guide School), and guests.

Stefán Helgi Valsson, project leader of the International Tourist Guide Day, extends gratitude to all those making the event possible. Without the guide's effort the event would never have taken place. Also thanks to Hrönn Vilhelmsdóttir and Þórólfur Antonsson owners of Cafe Loki where the touristguides and guests were able to rest between trips, and Ursula Spitzbart who assisted in promoting the event.
Anna Karlotta Stefánsdóttir and Ursula Spitzbart assisted promoting the event.

1 comment:

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