Themis Halvantzi-Stringer

APTG at the Tourism Committee

Following a report from Blue Badge Tourist Guide Victoria Herriott that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had convened a Committee on Tourism, the Association of Professional Tourist Guide (APTG) was invited to give evidence at a meeting on 27 January. This was the result of intensive lobbying by Unite-sponsored MPs following the acceptance of the motion on the Revised Professional Qualifications Directive at conference.

All three guiding organisations: The Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG), The Guild of Registered Tourist Guides (GRTG) and Institute of Tourist Guiding ((ITG) had submitted written reports.  The evidence started with the quote by Matthew Hancock MP: “The bedrock of tourism industry are the small businesses”. Statistics from GRTG show that professional tourist guides are the people tourists see the most. We are hugely influential and with great responsibility on accurately representing the cultural heritage.  It was my pleasure to speak on behalf of Guide London/Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG).

Three main issues put across were:

• Protection for the term “qualified tourist guide” and recognition for ITG as the standard setting body for our profession.

• Explanation of the levels of qualification involved to produce a tourist guide.

• Request for better co-ordination between the different government bodies in relation to coach parking in London.

On the whole the committee appeared to be sympathetic to our cause. It was a great opportunity to appear and be given the chance to explain the aims and problems of our profession. It was a team effort and hopefully it will have a positive outcome.

Themis Halvantzi-Stringer

London is a very exciting and vibrant place to live. There is something new everyday and as a Blue Badge Tourist guide I have to constantly update my knowledge and information. London is not just theatres and restaurants. There are lots of hidden corners, new food markets, interesting buildings,…

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