Tourism is given a high amount of respect in Italy. It is not a profession taken lightly, though many who are entering the field are not challenged in ways that ensure the enriched culture and history of this ancient nation is being devoted the same level of respect. With the future of tourism in Italy at stake, lawyers and tourism officials got together to embrace the inevitable changes facing one of the country’s most prosperous industries.
A conference was held at the hotel Palazzo Castri this morning, where the ongoing concerns regarding Italy’s touristic prospects were addressed. Apparently, tour guides have been violating laws related to the industry by not taking profession-related exams, and therefore are not technically qualified for their jobs. The fate of their profession was weighed during the conference, but the consensus is simply that the exams set out for tour guides in Italy must be regulated and taken more seriously.
Associations in attendance today included AGT Toscana (Guides of Tuscany Association), Centro Guide Firenze (CNA) and Associazione Guide della Campania e Associazione Guide Turistiche di Roma (AGTAR). Each of the presidents of the associations in attendance also presented their opinions on the matter.
Luca Righi, a professor of Administrative Law at the University of Pisa, suggests that the situation in Italy is unique, as the professionalism of tour guides in this country is being heavily criticized versus other neighbouring European countries. According to Righi, the downfall began three years ago, when the validity of the industry was questioned as a whole.
Presently, there is an enormous backlash due to the results of which tour guides actually complete certified exams, the materials they use to study for these exams, and how well equipped tour guides are here in Italy versus other European countries. It has become increasingly prevalent that young people who are not well-informed on the profession or the cities in which they become tour guides in are not as prepared for their jobs as they should be. It’s important that this industry is taken seriously, and that the ability to become a tour guide is obtained with knowledge of the provincial area. Without it, the preservation of the culture and history in Italy will suffer the consequences the most.
Being one of the country’s driving economic forces, it is dually important that the history and culture are maintained, in addition to the carefully considered nature of the tourism profession. The industry as a whole has also been lacking validation, acting as an even greater factor towards tour guides’ unwillingness to take necessary exams, and immerse themselves completely in the dense history and culture that this country offers.
This idea began as a matter of the region of Tuscany, and many other neighbouring regions, having tour guides who do not have adequate training in the industry in order to maintain the traditional tour guide mentality that is expected to exist in today’s industry. Righi compared the reality of the situation to a person unprepared for a job in dentistry to be asked to perform a dental surgery: it is naturally impossible. In an attempt to regulate and control the abilities of tour guides here in Italy, it is important to change the situation.
In order to reform what has happened in recent years, Righi proposed the idea that tour guides who are genuinely devoted to their profession should be should be sure to take local exams, which will in turn work to their international benefit. The future of tourism will not persist if potential tour guides do not take the exams, as well as if these exams are not more intensely regulated. According to the speakers, in many Italian regions, it is obvious that people are sent out to work with too little understanding of how tourism in the city works. With the exams and profession not being taken as seriously as in the past, and with less qualified tour guides taking over the local and national industry, the fate of tourism in Italy is at stake.
The reality is that this profession needs to be done with greater care and consideration. Norms have to be respected, and if it’s not handled on a local scale, the national problem will become uncontrollable.