Guiding German Visitors Around the Region

January 15, 2020

Anna scaled

Experience North Ltd is offering fluent German speakers, passionate about travel, the opportunity to undertake workshops leading to paid work in the tourism industry in both Liverpool and Scotland.

A similar course ran in 2018 in Newcastle providing more German-speaking tour guides & managers to support the increase in German cruise visitors to the region. Anna Unger was one of them.

Anna has now lived in the UK for 12 years, a former tour guide in Munich, Anna is from Lake Constance in southern Germany. On arrival in the UK, Anna booked a private tour with one of the only German-speaking guides in North East England. Alex Jacobs had just completed his Blue Badge Guiding course and was setting up Northern Secrets Ltd at the time.

Now working alongside Paul Mullins as Experience North Ltd, in both the North West and North East as well as Scotland, Alex is looking to recruit more German-speaking guides & tour managers, just like Anna.

Why did the course appeal to you?

I’d worked as a guide in Germany and knew it was something I enjoyed, but it wasn’t easy to find a way into the industry in the UK. Training to be a Blue Badge Guide is quite expensive and there wasn’t going to be a course imminently, so I was very interested in training to work with cruise tourists when I heard about the Experience North Ltd series of workshops.

What did the course cover?

Everything you could need to know in terms of the basics was covered. There is essential theory, but it is also very practical. It really is learning on the job. The workshop has equipped me with the knowledge and tools to guide cruise passengers to many attractions and destinations. It is great as a refresher course for anyone who has guided in the past but also as an entry point into the tourism industry and guiding. A great way of testing out whether guiding is for you, before embarking on a course that requires much more personal investment, in terms of both time and money.

What did you expect to happen afterwards?

Alex was very honest about the expectations of work following the course. I was looking for flexible work that I could fit around my other commitments and I’ve been able to work approximately 100 days during my first year guiding for German tourists.

What kind of work have you undertaken?

Much of the work has been day trips for cruise passengers arriving at the Port of Tyne as well as mini-cruise groups of German guests arriving by DFDS ferry. Most of these trips go to Newcastle and Durham, but some have also taken me to Alnwick and Hadrian’s Wall. I’ve also hosted the guided Vera Tour, a partnership with Brit Movie Tours and Experience North Ltd, which take in more than 10 locations in North East England that feature in episodes of the iconic TV crime drama series

What has been your favourite experience guiding in North East England?

The Prosecco picnic that a 60th birthday party enjoyed on one of the Vera tours I hosted is a favourite. The whole coach thoroughly enjoyed themselves celebrating and singing alongside the party who came fully prepared in their own t-shirts, hats and food with fizz. Locals discovered so much about their own area, and overseas tourists certainly experienced the infamous northeast welcome.

What benefit has the course been to you?

Guiding is so much fun, it’s different every day and enables me to meet lots of new different people. As well as providing me with the opportunity to work flexibly in an industry and location that I love, it has also given me enough experience, confidence, skills and knowledge to go ahead and train to become a Blue Badge Guide (this should be, and hopefully successfully, completed by mid 2021). There is always a shortage of guides with additional language skills so I’d whole-heartedly encourage anyone who can speak fluent German and loves to talk to people and travel to think about taking advantage of these training opportunities.

Courses will run in Scotland and Liverpool in March 2020.

For more information about the course please contact Paul Mullins on [email protected] or call 0151 334 84 29 / 07860 6810781