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Updated: November 12, 2012 18:41 IST

For a never-ending holiday

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speak well: Knowledge of architecture, archaeology and history are essential for tour guides
speak well: Knowledge of architecture, archaeology and history are essential for tour guides

The demand is rising for tour guides who have linguistic skills and can project the right image of the country and region by offering correct information about destinations

Who doesn’t like being a tourist? But the affair of a tourist with a destination is a short-lived one, as every holiday must end.

But if you are a graduate with a keen interest in history and culture, visit different places and have good communication and linguistic skills, you can lead the life of a tourist and convert it into a profession by aspiring for a career in the tourism sector as a guide. In addition, the knowledge of a foreign language other than English enhances the opportunity in this sector.

An increase in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in recent times has given a boost to the tourism sector in India and it is opening up the gates of attractive career opportunities for the young and enthusiastic willing to work as professional tour guides. A demand has arisen for such people whose job is to project the right image of the country and region by offering factually correct information about a destination.

Now, the Union Ministry of Tourism has embarked on a scheme to train and authorise candidates with licence to work as professional tour guides.


The applicants should be of a minimum 20 years of age on the date of the first advertisement appearing in the media and possess a degree from a recognised university or three-year degree in tourism/hospitality, or a diploma in archaeology from an institute recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC), Association of Indian Universities (AIU), AICTE or any other State / Central Government body.

Fluency in English language is essential and the candidate should have studied English as a subject at SSLC (10th Standard) and PUC (Plus 2) levels.

Applicants for the General Linguistic guide (see box), apart from being a graduate, should possess knowledge of a foreign language. Fluency will be tested at the time of the written examination.

The Expert Guide licence is issued to the holders of a doctorate degree in the field of tourism, Indian history, architecture, culture, archaeology, wildlife or other related fields of tourism. Fluency in English language is also essential.

Doctorate required

To avail oneself of the Expert Linguistic licence a doctorate degree in the fields of tourism, Indian history, architecture, culture, archaeology, wildlife or other related fields of tourism and knowledge and fluency in a foreign language (apart from English), in terms of reading, writing and speaking is required.

Linguistic guide: The State-level guides under the guidelines approved by any of the States/Union Territory administrations would also be eligible to apply for licence to work as Regional Level Guides (RLGs) provided they qualify in the common selection process based on merit for the selection of various categories of RLGs and the examination and viva voce after the training.

Selection process

The Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Gwalior, or any other institute designated by the Ministry of Tourism will carry on the selection process and the selected candidates will receive training at IITTM.

Applications are invited through an advertisement specifying seats available for training, region-wise. An entrance test of three-hour duration evaluates the general intelligence and suitability of applicants for admission to guide training.

Scoring a minimum of 150 out of 300 marks (100 marks for each subject paper) is essential to qualify.

Seats will be allotted as per the merit list. IITTM has campuses in Gwalior, Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Goa and Nellore.


The total duration of the training is 26 weeks for General and General-Linguistic category and 13 weeks for Expert and Expert-Linguistic category and it includes both classroom and field training at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sites.

All candidates are evaluated through an exam comprising written test and viva voce where guiding skills, knowledge of monuments and destinations, communication skills and fluency in foreign language (wherever applicable) are tested.

On successful completion, trainees are issued a Regional Level Guide Licence by the Regional India Tourism Office(s), Government of India. Valid for a period of three years, the licence can be renewed by fulfilling the requirement of attending refresher courses.


The opportunities are mainly with the leading tour operators including national and multinational brands. Based on the expertise and skill, a professional guide can earn between Rs. 4 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh annually.

Generally English speaking guides are paid Rs. 2,500 per day and those working in foreign languages other than English are paid upward of Rs. 3,000 per day.

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