Today is International Tourist Guide Day by World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations

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Today is International Tourist Guide Day. This initiative by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations honours the tourist guide profession, one of the pillars of the city’s tourist offering.

In Brussels, almost 800 guides ply the capital every day. All of them contribute greatly to showcasing the city’s cultural heritage. International Tourist Guide Day, on 21 February, is the occasion for visit.brussels to honour these ambassadors of the capital. Almost 800 of them roam the streets of the Brussels-Capital Region each day. Thanks to them, more than 150,000 visitors, tourists, Belgians and ‘Bruxellois’ explored, roamed, and discovered the city in 2017. A bit of history…

The tourist guide profession appeared in 1958, when contemporary tourism in Brussels was born following the World Exposition. An association quickly sprang up, with the majority of guides in Brussels becoming members. A few years later, other groups of guides were created and specialised in order to offer alternative tours on topics like Art Nouveau, urbanism, architecture, history, and green spaces. True ambassadors of the city…

Today, 57% of tourist guides are freelancers, 41% are volunteers, and 2% are employees. For 82% of them, it is a second job, with 18% classing it as their main job. All of them participate in showcasing the capital’s cultural heritage: Brussels, its history, its buildings and its great characters, like Charles V, Victor Horta, and Jacques Brel. Passionate about the capital and the innumerable treasures it hides, guides spark the curiosity of visitors with various topics. From beer, to Brussels legends, to street art, they sift through all aspects of the Region’s history and heritage.

Whether on foot or by bus, bike, segway, 2CV, horse and carriage, boat, or even tuk tuk, guides never stop diversifying, always offering unique and original tours throughout the year.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.