Only 4% of tour guides in Europe expect their work pick up in 2022 while almost 75% do not wait more than half of their pre-pandemic lifeAccording to a survey published by the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) on International Tour Guide Day this week.
For the third consecutive year, the annual survey of 27 member associations of the FEG examines the impact of Covid-19 on the profession of tourist guide graduate in 2021.
– last year there were fewer cancellations compared to 2020
– majority of guides said cancellations from 2019 and 2020 were not carried over to 2021 and commitments were lost
– more than half (58%) said their work had decreased by more than 75% compared to before Covid 2019
– in 2021, more than 35% of respondents were confident that guiding work would return to at least half of 2019 levels
– 61% said they had received financial assistance from their governments, other organizations or even loans, parents and spouses
– more than half said they could not access any financial aid or received less than 40% of their 2019 income. Only 10% said there would be additional financial support in 2022
– in 2021, most work was domestic with 28% saying their jobs came from other countries
– the majority of guides surveyed said the lack of support had a big impact on their standard of living: 78% said guiding was their main profession and 87% said they were self-employed
– half of the guides said they were looking for other types of jobs while 49% had already started another job
Overall, the FEG results indicate a downward trend in job expectations, with professionals citing uncertainty, loss of income and support as the main reasons.
FEG warns that a decline in tour guide business will impact the industry. As an indication, in the EU, tourism represents 9.5% of GDP and cultural tourism – where tourist guides play a central role – represents 40% of all European tourism.
Citing the results of the survey, the FEG calls on European, regional and national authorities to reconsider their tourism policies.
“As we look forward to a more positive tourism experience in 2022, a coordinated and holistic approach is needed. Supporting qualified local tour guides by promoting their services, engaging with regional and national guide associations, and curbing unauthorized practitioners – who are often part of the “sharing economy” market – restore much-needed confidence in tour guides. In this way, qualified tourist guides can continue to provide their expert services as destination ambassadors and contribute to the rapid recovery of the vital European tourism industry,” the FEG said in its statement.
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