Role of the tour guide in the intercultural communication within organized cultural tourism
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Author: Hristina Nedialkova
The report examines a set of eighteen observations of groups visiting Southern Italy, escorted in the course of three days by tour guides. The main role of the tour guide during the itinerary is one of cultural interpreter, helping the group to enjoy fully the additional advantages of the local society. Conveniently, the tourist guides/tour leaders are divided in two classes according to their intercultural competences and the tour operator sends fewer and more experienced tour guides to work simultaneously, this permitting a direct observation on the different outcomes due to tourist guiding. The findings from the a somewhat liberal verbal questioning by the organizers at the end of the tour, as well as thоse from the direct observation of the group behaviour and satisfaction are compared with the insights from other local professionals: museum and national park guides, boat crews, local and foreign coach drivers, restaurant and hotel professionals, baristi and others. The different kind of verbal information that the more experienced tour guides gave regarded local food and drinks, etiquette, tipping, coffee drinking, time and space orientation, hierarchy and rules (or their absence) and the extent of the private sphere. Their groups expressed more satisfaction at the end of the tour and the interculturally prepared tour guides were preferred by all other professionals.