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Explorer, educator, geographer, cruise lecturer, travel writer and dedicated conservationist - all of these titles describe Professor Bel's ability to share her great passion for travel and wildlife with others

Friday, December 9, 2011

Travel Book Club Review: “The Tourist Guide”

By: T&T GEOG 363 Cayleen Merrifield
Eric Cohen’s journal “The Tourist Guide” was very interesting to read.  It gave the reader a lot of important information about being a tour guide, and broke it down so that it was easy to understand.  He broke it into two different categories, one was the leadership sphere and the other was the mediatory sphere.  Cohen then broke it down even further to better explain what each sphere consisted of.
            For the leadership sphere Cohen split it into two components.  There is the instrumental component, which has three main elements to it.  And the social component which has four elements that make it up.  The instrumental component mainly talks about direction and how it is the guide’s job to be able to lead their party to the “objects of interest” and to also have knowledge of the sites they are seeing.  Another thing he talked about in this component was how guides are also given access to areas that are normally off limits to the public and also how guides are to have control for the safety and security of their party.  The two elements that are talked about in the social component that I thought were important was how to manage tension and also how to keep morale up. These are two important skills that a tour guide needs to learn.

            The mediatory sphere also has two main components that make it up and they are interactional and communicative.  Interactional talked mainly about how it is a guide’s job to be the middleman from hotels and restaurants to making sure that they see what they want to see and distract them from the sites that would be less pleasant.  How to communicate to your party is also a very important factor for a tour guide.  In the communicative section Cohen talked about how it is the guide’s job to select what information they are going to give to their group.  He also said that while it is ok to present something as “authentic” only when it is blatantly obvious that it is a staged attraction, this is called “keying”, it is important not to take it too far and “fabricate” the information.

            I think that by reading this journal alone could help someone be able to understand what it is to be a tour guide.  The information that this journal gives can benefit anyone who wants to be a tour guide and it is easy to understand.  Eric Cohen did a great job in highlighting the main components of what a tour guide needs to do to be successful.

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