We lost former WFTGA Secretary: Margrit Klimscha

Margrit Klimscha (May 15, 1927 - July 31, 2005)

Margrit Klimscha was a founding member of the Vienna Guide service in 1975. Within the Vienna Chamber of Commerce she fought relentlessly for the professional interests of tourist guides. In 1985 she represented Austria at the first Convention of WFTGA in Israel and put her expertise into the preparation of the second WFTGA Convention in Vienna in 1987. There she was elected WFTGA Secretary.

For 20 years the undersigned has enjoyed a 20-year friction-free co-operation not only in the Vienna Guide Service but also in the WFTGA Executive Board. In 1995 our energetic, extremely intelligent colleague fell victim to a lethal disease and passed away on July 31, 2005, deeply mourned by her Vienna and international colleagues.

Posted: 09/16/05

Serbia on International Tourist Guide Day 2005

We are glad to inform you that our Association (UTVS) has successfully organized and executed the following manifestations in order to mark (for the third time) the International Tourist Guide Day (ITGD 2005):

February 18-21 - Exhibition of Photographs – “The Tourist Guide – in front of and behind the camera” 85 selected photographs were selected by 2 of our members
February 19 - Guided Tour of the Old and New (former) Royal Palaces (for our colleagues only)
February 20 - Guided City Tours for citizens of Belgrade with 7 different itineraries - Guided Excursions by coach to cities of Novi Sad and Zrenjanin for citizens of Belgrade
February 21 - Special Guided City Tour for employees of Belgrade City Hall

Several members of our Managing Board participated in several broadcasts on 4 TV-stations in order to promote ITGD 2005 to the general public of Serbia.

More than 50 members of UTVS took part in the organization of the mentioned activities, while over 300 citizens of Belgrade enjoyed in taking part in these free activities.

Please click here to see a photo album of Serbia on ITGD 2005


Branislav Popovia
Posted: 03/14/05

Serbian Colleagues Hosted the WFTGA Area Representative

After having successfully organized the ITGD 2004 Event in Serbia (you can see all details about it here:, our Serbian colleagues keep being very active. The Tourist Guides Association of Serbia has invited Mr. Philip Cookson, Area Representative of WFTGA for Western, Central and South Europe to visit Serbia as of February 29, 2004.

Serbian colleagues welcomed their guest with great pleasure, they made a specially varied and interesting program of visits and activities for the arriv-ing WFTGA representative. Mr. Cookson, who paid a multi-day visit to Serbia, toured the capital with the Belgrade guides’ assistance. Additionally, he visited various parts of Serbia - the central area known as the cradle of the 1804 Serbian Revolution against the Ottoman Turkish rule, as well as the northern, wealthy province of Vojvodina. The highlight of the visit, however, was the reception of the guest from London in the former Royal Court of Belgrade, now resided by HRH Crown Prince Alexandar II of Serbia.

The top officials of Tourist organizations of Serbia and Belgrade informed Mr. Cookson about their activities on the promotion of travel and tourism in this country. From his part, Mr. Cookson addressed the Serbian Guides Association with a report on the development, legislative and practical functioning of tour guiding in some EU countries.

Mr. Cookson’s visit to Serbia was organized by Serbian Guides Association and sponsored by the Belgrade Office of ‘British Airways’, ‘Hotel Kasina’ and a few other local companies.

Branko Rabotic,
MABelgrade Sightseeing
Phone: ++38111 446 1153
GSM: ++38163 854 2648

Posted: 12/01/04

Royal Recognition

Wednesday - February 11, 2004 - Tom Hooper, FEG's ExCo Member is honoured by Queen Elizabeth II, with an MBE (Member of the British Empire). Tom has played a key role through the foundation of tourist guiding institute in the UK. He was working in conjunction as joint President with Fiona Grant and the Palace decided that this should be a joint investiture - quite unusual - for which they had to have a special little rehearsal to advance together instead of singly, to bow and courtesy, advance towards the sovereign, retreat walking backwards, etc. Quite a choreography! You can see the award he was about to receive from that on Fiona's breast.

In any event it is yet another small step in the recognition of the tourist guide as a professional and the tourist guide's contribution to the field of tourism.

Posted: 12/01/04

WFTGA 1985-2007.... 22 Years of Excellence

Dear Colleagues Worldwide, Travel and Tourism Industry Partners,

We would like to introduce the new Executive Board of the WFTGA whom you will be hearing quite a bit from in the coming years.

WFTGA 1985-2007.... 22 Years of Excellence

At the 12th WFTGA Convention in Cairo the following EXBO was elected:

Rosalind Newlands President
Rosalind Newlands (Edinburgh, Scotland UK)


Aladdin Khalifa Vice President
Aladdin Khalifa (Cairo, Egypt)


Houri Nazeritian Secretary
Houri Nazeritian (Oshawa, Canada)



Walid El-Batouty (Cairo, Egypt)


Johnny Lee KK


Executive Board Member
Johnny Lee KK (Hong Kong, China)
Koula Vassiliou


Executive Board Member
Koula Vassiliou (Nicosia, Cyprus)



Posted: 12/31/03


The Executive Board and its representatives attend trade fairs, present papers at conferences and conventions, lobby government departments to promote the cause of professional guides, and seek co-operation with other stakeholders in the tourism industry.

Recently, WFTGA and GREEN GLOBE 21 have signed a cooperation agreement to affirm the goal of achieving sustainable tourism worldwide.

Contact with the Tourism Industry Worldwide.

For more information click here

Posted: 12/31/03

Draft CEN Standard for the Training and Qualification of Tourist Guides


The final meeting of WG5 the European committee working to create the above standard took place in Athens on 26th & 27th April 2007. Tourist Guide experts for the various countries attending included Rosalind Newlands (WFTGA President) and Tom Hooper (FEG Chairman) UK; Efi Kalamboukidou Greece; Glorianne Mizzi Malta, Stanislav Voleman Czech Republic; Marian Bilacic Slovak Republic, Guido Lion Italy, Titina Loizidou Cyprus; Ute Jager & Gisela Bianco Germany; Carlos Ortego Spain. The draft standard now goes for voting and if accepted will become an CEN (European) Standard sometime next year.

Adopted by WFTGA the 10th Convention, Dunblane, Scotland 2003

Tourist Guide:
A person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area which person normally possesses an area-specific qualification usually issued and/or recognised by the appropriate authority.

This is distinct from a tour manager defined by CEN as follows:

Tour Manager/Tour Director or Escort:
Person who manages an itinerary on behalf of the tour operator ensuring the programme is carried out as described in the tour operator's literature and sold to the traveller/consumer and who gives local practical information. Tour managers may or may not be tourist guides as well. They are not trained or licensed to work in specific areas unless they have the proper requirements or legal right, depending on the region.


Posted: 12/31/03

Tour Escorts to get $14 Million in settlement of overtime and retirement plan claims

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco law firm of Dacey & Sitkin today announced a major class action settlement in excess of $14 million compensating approximately 200 tour escorts for unpaid overtime under federal and California law and approximately 370 tour escorts for not being included in the retirement plans of the defendant Group Voyagers, Inc., the Colorado based seller of multi-day tour packages for bus tours. Group Voyagers historically treated tour escorts, who are located across the U.S., as administrative or professional employees who were exempt from overtime.

The employees had alleged that the majority of their duties included routine tasks, such as following the company mandated itinerary, assembling luggage, inspecting buses, checking tour members into hotels, offering commentary on the sites visited, and selling optional tour extensions, and that they did not hire, fire, or discipline other employees.

Under the settlement, which received final approval yesterday afternoon from Federal District Court Judge Susan Illston, the tour escorts will receive overtime compensation based on a 12.6 hour work day and payments based on 75% of the employer’s contribution to the retirement plans.

While tour escorts on these bus tours historically have been paid a flat daily wage of around $100, the average payment for California overtime class members will be over $100,000, with the highest payment exceeding $450,000. After 41⁄2 years of complex litigation, we’re delighted with the result. It is a major development for an industry that has historically failed to recognize overtime entitlements and other employee benefits for tour escorts,” said James Sitkin, Plaintiffs’ attorney with Dacey & Sitkin in San Francisco. Tour escorts, including from out of state, attended the final approval hearing and broke out in applause after the final approval hearing, some in tears.

Dacey & Sitkin also has recently settled a similar action against another major tour operator, Grand Circle Travel of Boston, and is proceeding with similar actions against the operators of Tauck Tours, Trafalgar Tour, Contiki Tours, Titan Tours, Saga Tours, and others.

The law firms of Davenport, Gerstner & McClure and Tierny Walden Watson assisted Dacey & Sitkin in the action against Group Voyagers.

Donna Primas

Chicago Tour-Guide Professionals Assn.
Check-out our website:

Posted: 12/01/03

Announces new regulations for using licensed guides

Marta Cooper


DCA to List All Licensed Tour Guides Online, Giving Special Recognition to Guides with Exemplary Scores on New Licensing Exam

New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Gretchen

Dykstra and City Councilman and Consumer Affairs CommitteeChairman Philip

Reed, today announced out-of-town companies conducting paid tours within New York City must employ a tour guide licensed by the DCA. In addition be-ginning in April 2004, the DCA will begin listing all licensed tour guides online, giving special recognition to guides who pass the new licensing exam with a score of 120 or more. Last spring, the DCA instituted a new, comprehensive and challenging licensing exam for the City’s tour guides.

“All visitors to New York City deserve an accurate and colorful tour,” said DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra. “The law requires that out-of-town compa-nies conducting tours within the City have to use a licensed guide who knows

the lay of the land. This ensures that millions of tourists who visit each year, will get both educational and fun tours and therefore will be more likely to come back.” “As tourists return in large numbers to the City, I commend the DCA for rec-ognizing the importance of out-of-town companies using licensed tour guides,” said Council Member Philip Reed. “The DCA has found a great way to balance giving credit to veteran New York City tour guides, who have superb knowl-edge of the city, as well as resolving the problem of out-of town tour guides. Either way, this will enhance the experience of people coming to visit New York, which is a good thing for everyone.” “New York City tour guides are an integral part of the City’s tourism industry, welcoming millions of visitors each year,” said Cristyne L.

Nicholas, president & CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism mar-keting organization. “By making sure every tour company employs a licensed guide further encourages the success of the City’s $21-billion tourism indus-try.”

“Having a listing online will make it much easier for companies to find good, licensed tour guides,” said Pete Pantuso, President and CEO of the American Bus Association. “What’s good for the tourists is always good for the tourism business.”

By law, all new tour guides must take an exam when applying for a license to test their knowledge of historic or public points of interest in and about the City. Licensed tour guides who pass the new licensing exam with an exemplary score of a 120 or higher will receive special recognition on the DCA web site, and will be part of an annual alert to NYC & Co. and national tour companies. Guides applying for a license for the first time must take the new test and pass with a score of 97 out of 150, reflecting the average grade of the first few hundred test takers. Veteran tour guides - any guide who was licensed before May 17, 2003 - will no longer be required to take the new licensing exam because of their extensive experience and successful passage of a previous exam. However, any veteran guide who chooses to take the new exam and receives a score of 120 or higher will be included among those who receive special commendation.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law, as well as other related City and State laws, at thousands of businesses throughout New York City. DCA licens-es more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories in New York.

City and educates both consumers and businesses alike through free commu-nity seminars, licensing forums, and other informational materials. To file a complaint or for more information, call 311 or go online at

Posted: 12/01/03

ARGENTINA - Happy Hour brings together stakeholders

AGUITBA, the Tourist Guide Association of Buenos Aires, recently organised a Happy Hour for members of the tourism industry. For the first time in the history of the Association, this event brought together not only the guides but also other stakeholders in tourism, such as agencies, the representatives of the National Tourist Board as well as people from the City Tourist Board. More than one hundred people gathered in a new restaurant which offered the space, the pizza and the drinks free of charge. The guides used the opportunity to introduce their magazine and were happy that for the first time they had the chance to put the associations name on the cover of a magazine for tourists.

Posted: 07/21/03
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