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The Blue Badge

Specified area: Traditionally a Tourist Board Area


Professional Blue Badge Tourist Guides began to be trained in London after World War II in response to a demand for visitors wanting bomb site tours. Needless to say, the range of what we show people and the kind of work we do has increased somewhat since then!

Undoubtedly, some of the work that guides get asked to do around the country is traditional tourist guiding e.g. city tours by coach, guiding around cathedrals, castles and other heritage sites. There is also firm support for walking tours, not only from visitors but also locals.

Many guides are experts in a field e.g. will specialise in guiding art galleries or work primarily for groups like NADFAS. Some guides are architects and will concentrate on architectural tours. Some are antiques experts and will be engaged by visitors with a similar interest.

Another area where there is a lot of expertise (and enthusiasm) is in sport. Wimbledon Tennis Club uses Blue Badge guides for their award winning tours. The NFL American football fixture played at Wembley in 2007 and used Blue Badge guides to help look after the teams, their supporters and all the media. There are also over 250 multi-lingual guides who have taken a course specialising in the Olympic Games in order to be able to show visitors what is happening in London and around the country for the 2012 Games.

Prestigious museums and sites of national interest will only use Blue Badge tourist guides for their visitors e.g. London Blue Badge guides do the highlights tours for the British Museum and Parliament summer opening.

An increasing number of Blue Badge guides are licensed driver guides offering personalised chauffeur-driven guiding. Their work can vary from antiques tours in the Cotswolds, to looking after foreign journalists and film stars.

Blue Badge tourist guides are frequently used by Destination Management Companies or DMCs to work with their corporate clients on large programmes. Sometimes this work will involve guiding excursions, but often it requires guides to take on the role of a knowledgeable local friend.

Many guides are fluent in more than one language. Indeed, many guides are not native English speakers and work in their own mother tongue e.g. Russian, Japanese or Mandarin.

Apart from guiding, some Blue Badge guides work directly for large companies, creating and operating programmes for conferences, incentive tours and training seminars. Others are involved in training and not only guide training, but for example, teaching presentational skills to personnel in industry. Some run their own lecture courses.

Some guides also run their own tour agencies offering specialist tours for, say, property investors or to Billingsgate for Japanese fishermen - the possibilities are endless. All Blue Badge Tourist Guides are self-employed and can be contacted directly through:

 

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