Have you always wanted to become a tour guide? Are alternative training options too expensive? We have the solution! Get an accredited tour guide qualification with us.
Why Take This Course?

The increase in foreign tourists choosing to spend their holidays on cruise ships has led to a demand for a higher number of tour guides. This, together with the current exchange rate, has made the UK especially attractive.

What Does the Course Entail?

This course was devised to meet the demand for more tour guides. It is designed specifically for the cruise industry in order to address the unique needs and circumstances of cruise tour guides. Our goal is to train new guides to the highest standards so that future visitors can enjoy a positive shore excursion, while also ensuring fair compensation for the guide. This course is also suitable for guides serving visiting bus and coach companies, as well as for guides leading walking tours.

What Kind of Accreditation Will I Receive?

After successful completion of the programme and upon passing the final examination, you will be awarded International Certification in Tour Guide Excellence from Aquila’s Centre for Cruise Excellence, which includes a Certificate of Achievement and lapel pin for each guide. You will also receive a certificate from Devon & Cornwall Tour Guides for the tours studied during the course with the aim of ongoing professional development.

The Course Consists of Two Modules:

Module 1

Module 1 is the AQUILA Tour Guide Excellence Training. It was specifically designed for the cruise ship industry but is also applicable to other tour guide scenarios. The candidates learn valuable transferable skills like customer service, interpretation, storytelling, handling difficult people, risk management and much more. Candidates are asked to complete all lessons up to the video examination before session 2 of Module 2.

The last component of the programme is the final examination, which will evaluate what has been learned throughout the course. The examination will include both a written component to test the student’s acquired knowledge, as well as a video component which will evaluate presentation, research and tour guide skills. The candidates have the opportunity to study online in their own time (with support from their course instructor).

The online course consists of six lessons plus the final examination and video assessment.

Lesson 1: Overview of the Tourism Industry & Cruise Sector

This lesson gives an overview of the tourism industry and cruise sector while still providing specific details about the role of shore excursions and the importance of the tour guide. You will also learn the best practices for responsible tourism.

Lesson 2: Hospitality & Service Excellence

This lesson teaches the standard practices and behaviours of an excellent tour guide. This includes how to provide excellent service and ensure passenger satisfaction, how to maintain a positive working relationship with your driver and others on your team, how best to respond to guests with special needs, and more.

Lesson 3: Research & Field Skills

This lesson discusses how to build a foundation of knowledge about the information that guests expect and how to turn that knowledge into excellent tour commentary. This includes learning the types of information required for a tour, how to maintain up-to-date information, how to develop tour commentary and the art of fine-tuning delivery of the commentary.

Lesson 4: Presentation, Interpretation & Storytelling

This lesson teaches how to develop interesting and memorable commentary and how to communicate it effectively. This includes tips on how best to present information, how to interpret information for the guest and how to tell a story in a way that engages the guests. You will also learn the art of answering questions and more.

Lesson 5: Preparation & Processes

This lesson covers the procedures involved in preparing for a tour and conducting a tour. This includes topics such as starting a tour off right, following the itinerary, keeping track of guests, following procedures at stops, working with suppliers, managing post-tour reporting and more.

Lesson 6: Difficult Situations & Risk Management

This lesson includes how to manage difficult situations, including assisting passengers in locating lost items, handling complaints, responding to a passenger’s disruptive or undesirable behaviour, solving problems, responding to emergencies, locating a missing passenger, assisting a sick or injured passenger and more.

Lesson 7: Final Examination and Certification

The final component of the programme is a final examination, which will evaluate what you have learned throughout the course. The examination will include both a written component to test your knowledge, as well as a video component which will evaluate your presentation, research and tour guide skills. The video is a 10-minute roleplay of a tour that the guide can choose and prepare in advance. It should include: an opening greeting, a presentation of the destination and an appropriate farewell. Upon successful completion of the programme and final examination, you will be awarded the International Certification in Tour Guide Excellence from Aquila’s Centre for Cruise Excellence.

Module 2

Module 2 is the component created by Devon & Cornwall Tour Guides. It teaches candidates how to acquire and develop tour-specific knowledge (regional, historic, cultural, economic) as well as the practical skills needed for tour guiding.

Module 2 consists of a number of sessions that will vary depending on the details of the individual tour. It will include at least one field trip, usually two. The course sessions consist of building blocks: it will start from a secure factual knowledge base, which will be revised and added to in every session. In addition, there will be many opportunities to practise delivering the tour commentary/knowledge until candidates are able to deliver their tours confidently. This module is designed to be cumulative and involves much ‘learning-by-doing’.

The exact content and process of each session is subject to change depending on the individual progress of the candidates. However, the typical structure is as follows:

Session 1

  • Preparation for the video assignment, concentrating on the welcome and introduction, content, length, props and closing commentary
  • Brief introduction to the variety of tours
  • Tour-specific information for the tour
  • Route map
  • Points of interest en-route
  • Extra information (fillers)
  • Return journey
Session 2

  • Familiarisation trip
Session 3

  • Booking management and procedure, availability, checking in at the terminal, updates during the day, report/departure and arrival times, coaches and drivers, SafeAshore, invoicing and payment, Q&A
  • Final preparation for video (choose destination, props, etc.); set dates for video presentation
  • Revision and roleplay practice of the tour plus practical information
  • Route map
  • Points of interest en-route
  • Extra information (fillers)
  • Return journey
Session 4

  • Familiarisation trip
  • Practical run-through
Session 5

  • Revision and practice of the tour
  • Written assessment
  • Random Photo Quiz: Each trainee will be shown three pictures of a point of interest relevant to the tour. The trainee will be asked to roleplay 3-minute commentary on the storyline of that place.

Interested? Fill Out the Form Below for More Information

Have More Questions?

We’re Here To Help