Monday 11 June 2012

The practice of guiding, as a profession, is not to be overlooked or underappreciated. Guiding is a skill, an often academically-accredited qualification that elevates a destination’s capability to showcase attractions and other areas from baseline to beyond expectation. Read more on this in the article "Tour guides: Noticing or Knowing" on eTurboNews.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Tour guide in Mexico

Armed gunmen ambushed 22 Carnival cruise ship passengers on a tour of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week - reported.

This is terrible news for the travelling public, the shipping company, and all the people in Mexico who depend on tourism for their livelihoods.

I’ve been doing private and scheduled shore excursions in Iceland since 1988 and to think that something like this could happen in my country makes me shiver. So far, so good in Iceland – a country where police does not carry guns and women leave their children sleeping in the baby pram outside grocery stores while they shop.

My thoughts are with the tourist guide who’ll remember this incidence for the rest of his/her life.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Great northern lights in Iceland

The northern lights gave a good show last night, according to an Iceland tour guide colleague who searched for the northern lights last night. "They gave a good show for 20 minutes. I'd give it 6.5 on the scale of 10," he said.

For the past few months we've struggled to see good lights in Iceland, mostly due to the cloud cover, but also due to lack of activity. In December 2012 for example we had many snow days. Needless to say, when it snows it is cloudy which means they block the view.

The near future though looks very promising as far as northern light displays are concerned.

Reykjavik Bike Tours offers private northern lights tours in winter.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Rosalind Newlands president of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations WFTGA

“You get to travel around the country you love, and tell people about it,” she says. “And best of all, you're almost always dealing with people when they're happy — either on holiday or on a break from business. There aren't many jobs that give you that.”

The above describes exactly what it is like to be a tourist guide. It is a part of an article written by Divya Kumar of The Hindu - featuring Rosalind Newlands who is the current president of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA).

Rosalind has guided visitors around her native country Scotland as a qualified professional tourist guide since 1983.

Read the rest of the article: Tour de force in The

Thursday 2 December 2010

Best way to see northern lights

Northern lights are present above Iceland nine days out of ten. Sound too good to be true? Well, technically it is correct but there are several factors to consider.

1. Darkness – it must be dark. In summer it is 24 hour daylight in Iceland.

2. Cloud cover – it must be clear to be able to see the northern lights since they exist far above the clouds.

3. Solar activity – there must be solar activity for particles to be ejected towards the Earth.

4. Solar cycle – the activity of the Sun performs in 11 year cycles. In 2010 a new cycle has just begun.

5. Magnetic field – the right magnetic conditions must prevail around the poles.

6. City lights – can be a problem if the northern lights are faint. Best is to drive away from the city to a dark secluded spot, wait and watch.

7. Moon – can also be a problem, especially when it is full, because it can be quite bright and it may overpower the light from the northern lights.

8. Timing – as mentioned before, the northern lights are elusive. One day they may occur for a minute, or dance in the sky for hours.

I’ve been giving northern lights tours for decades and always enjoy the last one just as much as the first one.

Friday 6 August 2010

Tourist guides unhappy about ETOA's rouge ID scheme

The Federation of European Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) is outraged over European Tour Operator Association’s (ETOA) decision to produce its own pan-European ID-badge for anyone who guides tourists — seemingly to circumvent the need for area-specific professional qualification - by using the non-existing term "tour guide" for these persons. Source, click here.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Great tour guides equal a great trip - says Jill at

Amazing how one person with a microphone and a sign with your group number on it can influence your entire experience of a place. "A portal into a culture," as someone observed.

A good guide brings a place to life. Brings insight and enthusiasm to it, a personal take that will provide dimension and color to what might otherwise seem insignificant or plain.

Read Jill's article.