New official tourist guides for the city
Press Release: 30/07/2015
Winchester Area Tourist Guides Association and Winchester City Council are training 18 new official ‘Green badge’ tourist guides for the city.
Over 100 people expressed an interest in the training and interviews for candidates took place over three days, such was the demand to join the ranks.
The trainee guides will each invest £750 to undergo the course which is accredited by the national Institute of Tourist Guiding, underwritten by Winchester City Council, and will take place in the Guildhall.
Christina Reid, Blue and Green Badge Guide and Director of the WATGA course, said:
I’m very pleased to say that there is a lot of demand for guided tours in Winchester, and so far this year public participation in our tours is 10% up on last year. The Guides also run tours for a great variety of private groups, from school groups to language students, businessmen, social groups, families – we even had a hen party recently. We are kept busy in the tourist season and there are now only 23 of us - the last training course for new Winchester guides was in 2005 - so we thought the time had come to train some more.
The response has been amazing. We are very lucky to have so many enthusiastic and talented people who want to become guides. We are especially pleased that many of the new trainees speak a foreign language which will help us provide an even better service to our customers. The trainees are going to have to work hard as there is a lot to learn about Winchester, but I know that they will enjoy being a guide and meeting the great variety of people from all over the world who come on our tours.
The group of trainees includes speakers of German, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch, Czech and Serbian. Some have already worked in the tourism sector here and abroad, some have been teachers, whilst for others this is a new departure after many years of working in a totally unrelated industry. Some are Winchester born and bred, others have come here more recently, but they all want to share their love of Winchester.
Cllr James Byrnes, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Local Economy and Tourism, added:
The interest in this course was remarkable, especially as the trainees commit 15 Saturdays and invest in the course with their own money. The WATGA officials and Visit Winchester team interviewed people with a broad spectrum of background experience and language skills. I think the popularity of the course is a reflection of the appeal of Winchester as a place to discover. People really do find it fascinating and the final group of trainees all demonstrated a great passion for sharing our city’s rich heritage.
Tours depart from Winchester Tourist Information Centre, 11am and 2.30pm daily.
01962 840 500. Winchester’s Official Tourist Guides: www.winchestertouristguides.com