VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Applying Effective Communication Skills/Reasons for communicating

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1.4 Reasons for communicating

As a tour guide, communication will be your main tool in informing and guiding guests around sites and keeping their interest. Below, we have some suggested reasons why communication is so important in a tour guiding context. After reading through them, why don't you tackle the activities which follow, which are based on some of the main reasons for communicating in tour guiding.

to inform, remind and advise

You will use communication to present your country to tourists. As a tour guide you will have to answer many questions, handle queries and present information to tourists. Among these types of information will be :

  • giving directions and commentaries;
  • explaining procedures and itineraries;
  • providing advice on safety and security; and
  • describing tourist attractions.

This information to guests can be: helpful suggestions to prepare themselves for a tour, advice about personal belongings to take, medical advice on preventative medicines, and information about available services at tourist destinations.

to clarify, and to avoid confusion and misunderstandings

Communication helps to clarify facts so that there is no confusion or misunderstandings. Also, sometimes there are unexpected events during a tour which can force the tour guide to change plans, and these changed plans have to be communicated to the tour group as soon as possible, to get consensus on alternative itineraries.

to promote and persuade

Communication is also the tool you’ll use to promote the tourism products and services of your country, such as the destinations and events they will visit and enquire about. Remember, tourists visit your country in order to see what attractions the country has to offer and to perceive and experience the country from your perspective. As a tour guide, therefore, it will be your responsibility to motivate and reinforce the tourist’s interest in your country. Your commentaries are the « eye » through which tourists will see the country and you are the representative of the people of your country.

to build relationships

How well you communicate with your tour group will determine the success of the tour and how successful you are in your career as a tour guide. Conversations help to develop rapport which will build interpersonal relationships This is important for sustaining the tourism activities.

to evaluate your services. Communication will enable you to collect relevant feedback from the tourists with a view to gauging the interests and expectations of the tourists. This feedback obtained can be communicated to all concerned. From this you will be able to explore ways of improving subsequent tour activities.

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Now take some time and reorganise the above reasons as you regard them important, from the most to the least important.

Did you find that difficult? Those tasks are all important and it is often hard to prioritise. When you are ready, let's move on to the next activity:

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Below is an excerpt from a conversation a tour guide had with a tourist in his group. Read it carefully and answer the questions that follow.

Satish: Hey Sue. Are you enjoying the tour?

Sue: I am! I found the visits to the sugar museum and botanical gardens this morning, both very interesting. But it must be hard for a tour guide like yourself, to try and please so many people at the same time. I mean, here we are, 13 tourists from different countries around the world. And we all do things differently!

Satish: Where are you from again?

Sue: Oh I’m from Trinidad and Tobago…a beautiful place... like yours.

Satish: Do you know that today is a national holiday here? It is a Christian holiday celebrating the assumption of the Virgin Mary. ‘Cause we are multicultural, we celebrate numerous religious festivals.

Sue: Oh really? So do we! In my country since we have lots of Hindus, Muslims,and Christians we have a whole host of religious festivals as well. For example we have something called Hosay – a Hindu festival. Do you know it?


  1. Does the above communication form part of the job of a tour guide?
  2. What do you think were the reasons for the above communication. List at least 2 reasons and justify your response.