- Check the group numbers – is it feasible and within current government guidelines and tourism partners’ protocols. For walking tours, no more than 15 guest is advised per guide and coaches are likely to be no more than 1/3 or ½ full.
- Check the itinerary carefully to allow for current opening rules and advance ticket requirements. More time may be required as groups may have to be split into smaller numbers and specific arrival times are likely to be required.
- Liaise with the agent if applicable to check all is in order and whether whisper systems will be provided or apps will be used.
- Check any seating plan for guests to allow for social distancing.
- Get a list of names and contact details if booking is direct.
- Make arrangements for contactless payments including your own guiding fees.
- Check with all tourism partners to find out their current rules and protocols e.g. coach company; private hire company, drivers, attractions; sites; hotels; restaurants.
- Check the location and availability of toilets, hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities.
- Prepare your own PPE including masks, microphone covers, portable microphones as appropriate.
The Executive has agreed a package of relaxations to the current Coronavirus Health Regulations.
Information about the guidance can be found here.
Covid-19 Checklist for Tourist Guides
In planning for the “New Normal” guides should re-evaluate each stage of the Customer Journey and consider what changes might be required in their usual practices. Guides meet visitors in various locations and take them on moving vehicle, site and walking tours. It is likely that there will be less coach tours in the immediate future but once the larger group industry opens up probably next year, extra safety and hygiene practices will still be necessary to give customers confidence that it is Good to Go!!
Prior to the tour
Meet and greet
- Arrive early enough to check on protocols at the venue or with the coach driver, chauffeur and any DMC or Shorex officials.
- For coach tours check again how the coach will be loaded and any seating plan.
- Wash or sanitize hands and any equipment e.g. microphone you are using directly.
- Wear a mask.
- As guests arrive do not shake hands or come into physical contact.
- Maintain social distance and encourage guests to do the same.
- Assist with coach loading as agreed with the coach driver if appropriate. This will include all guests loading in a prescribed order and using hand sanitizer. Household groups may not be able to sit together.
- Masks are likely to be required and it would be advisable to have some disposable masks available.
- Advise guests of enhanced safety and hygiene protocols during the tour and at any venues you will visit.
- Re-assure guests that their safety and wellbeing s your top priority.
During the tour
- While walking ensure that social distance is maintained at all times.
- Sanitize or wash your own hands frequently.
- Wear a mask and use appropriate means for voice amplification. Projection of the voice is not advised.
- Call ahead to attractions, restaurants and other venues to advise of exact arrival time. You are likely to have a set arrival time which must be adhered to but, if anything unexpected happens, contact the venue immediately.
- On arrival at attractions, sites and other venues – remind guests of safety and hygiene protocols for the particular site.
- Check again entrance restrictions and advise guests of arrangements. Groups may have to be split.
- Disembark the coach in the order agreed with the driver. Guests should sanitize their hands, on disembarkation.
- Re-load the coach in the same order as before.
At the end of the tour
- Thank the guests for their support and cooperation.
- Disembark the coach in the same way as before.
- Guests are unlikely to want to handle cash so tips may be an issue. If they do want to leave cash tips have a hands-free pot they can be placed into.
- Debrief the tour with the agent if appropriate highlighting any issues or challenges that arose
Remember: Guiding Is FUN!!
Covid-19 Protocols for Tourist Guides
Guides are strongly advised to comply with this guidance at all times. Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance requires safety briefings by guides and Covid-19 enhances this requirement and insurance may be invalid if guides do not include a Covid-19 safety briefing in addition to their normal safety briefing.
- Guides should wear an appropriate badge or identification.
- Guides will ensure they are familiar with the most up-to-date public health guidelines and will adhere to these for the duration of the tour. They will give guests advanced notice before the tour begins of how to be safe on the tour, enjoy the tour, and have fun while maintaining Northern Ireland Government public health advice.
- Guides will maintain government-recommended social distancing between themselves and clients at all times. On tours where the group includes different households, guides will encourage and help clients to adopt appropriate social distancing between each other too.
- When guiding groups from different households, guides will follow government guidance to determine the maximum possible group size. https://www.healthni.
- Guides will avoid shaking hands or any other physical contact with clients.
- Guides will apply rigorous hygiene practices, including thoroughly cleaning and waiting for hands to dry before guiding, and use a personal hand sanitiser when this is not possible.
- Guides will be wearing a mask or visor according to Government recommendations and will comply with the protocols of agents and coach company they work with.
- Guides will know where public toilets/hand-washing facilities/hand sanitiser points are available.
- Remote audio devices (such as Whisper, Vox and various apps) can be effective for social distancing on guided tours. Guides will happily work with tour companies using these systems.
- Guides are experts in the tourist sites they visit with clients. Guides will ensure they are fully aware of sites' specific Covid-19 requirements and comply with them.
- Guides will be familiar with more crowded areas and will make best efforts to negotiate them, or if appropriate, avoid them.
- Guides will liaise with coach companies and private vehicle companies and drivers to check that vehicles have been thoroughly sanitised.
- Driver guides will ensure their vehicle is thoroughly cleaned inside after previous use.
- They will follow licensing authority and national Covid-19 regulations for cleaning their vehicles and maintaining air-conditioning systems. Driver guides will carry disinfecting wipes, hand sanitisers and paper towels in their cars, and will use face masks.
Sectoral Guidance - Tour Guiding
As part of the Tourism NI Tourism Enterprise Development (TED) Programme, this webinar was designed for industry within the NI Tour Guiding sector and was aimed at helping you make sure you are ready for reopening and welcoming back visitors to your business when restrictions begin to ease. The webinar is available to view below.
Covid -19 Checklist for Tourist Guides Download
In planning for the “New Normal” guides should re-evaluate each stage of the Customer Journey and consider what changes might be required in their usual practices.