Improving the quality of tour guiding: Towards a model for tour guide certification

Rosemary Black, Sam H. Ham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Professional certification is one mechanism used to assist in maintaining and improving professional or technical competence in numerous professions. It can potentially be used to assist in improving tour guide performance and raising and maintaining guiding standards. The aim of this research was to critically analyse the development of the Australian EcoGuide Program as a basis for building a model for tour guide certification as one mechanism of improving the quality of tour guiding. This was achieved through a review of the relevant literature, and by analysing the content, process, and elements of the EcoGuide Program, and selected industry stakeholders' views of the Program. A mixed methods approach was adopted and five data collection methods were used: a telephone survey, in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, on-site questionnaires and secondary data analysis. Data were collected from six research populations: nature/ecotour guides, nature-based tour operators, members of the EcoGuide Steering Committee, EcoGuide assessors, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and Australian protected area managers. The results were triangulated to build an understanding of the content, elements, development process and stakeholders' views of the EcoGuide Program. The findings of this analysis are presented in a general model for tour guide certification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-195
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ecotourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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