Guides can still offer tourists value

Tourist guides are still important touchpoints for visitors today, even with the advent of technology ("Tour guides must make mark online" by Mr Kwan Jin Yao; Aug 27).

Although destination information is readily available online, it is the tourist guide who brings together a compelling narrative that makes the experience come alive, and caters to the varying needs of sophisticated visitors.

Free and independent travellers who prefer a more immersive experience also engage tourist guides.

Tourist guides are also well aware of evolving consumer trends, and proactively seek ways to improve themselves and provide better service to visitors, especially in the digital age.

There are professional development courses to help guides do so, for example, in the use of social media tools to get in touch with their visitors directly.

To complement the initiatives recommended by the government task force, the Society of Tourist Guides (Singapore) also recognises that as an industry association, it can lend a helping hand to the guides.

In terms of technology adoption, the Society of Tourist Guides (Singapore) is looking at providing a guides' directory for members to put up their guide profiles and share more on their guiding services.

This will allow visitors to review and engage the guide who can best meet their needs.

Through this effort, we hope to achieve a better match between visitors' needs and guides' services.

Howard Lim

Chairman

Society of Tourist Guides (Singapore)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Guides can still offer tourists value'. Print Edition | Subscribe