The Basic Requirements

Before setting up an Association, you need to resolve a very important issue: the qualifications for membership. Although circumstances can vary enormously from country to country, the following might apply:

(a) Where there are only individual guides, self- or agent-trained, the only recognised qualification can be the length of experience. Originally the Association may aim to be simply a social group, to meet mainly for the exchange of ideas. This very limited goal should be seen as the first step to a more professional approach.

(b) Alternatively, the Association may aim to achieve recognition of certain standards for officially qualified guides. Where selection, training, examining and registration (or most of these) are already established, successful qualification would be required for membership, as in other professional bodies. If the aim is to raise standards, retesting at intervals, and/or taking part in further training and upgrading may be required for continued membership.

This second option, which in most countries is the advanced step from (a) above, requires a government or local authority willing to be involved in setting and examining those standards. This situation does not apply in all countries, and an association setting up under model (a) above, should treat this need as a priority. Indeed any group planning to form a Guides Association would do well to check with the tourist board or any authority which might register guides, in order to have their support for these aims.