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Norway’s plans to introduce tighter rules for tour guides

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norway’s plans to introduce tighter rules for tour guides
Norway will crack down on the rules for tour guides, an will unveil plans in the new year. Pictured are top people at the viewpoint at the Aurlandsfjord. Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

The Norwegian government plans to introduce stricter regulations for tour guides. The crackdown comes after several incidents involving guides lacking the required knowledge and expertise.

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Millions of tourists visit Norway each year, and many hope their experience will be heightened by the knowledge and expertise a tour guide offers. 

However, while many believe they are paying for a skilled and knowledgeable guide, they may end with someone whose lack of knowledge can dampen the trip. 

Public broadcaster NRK reports that Visit Norway, the official online travel guide for Norway, which promotes the country as a travel destination, knows of several incidents where a tour guide has provided their customers with misinformation or lacked the basic knowledge to carry out the role. 

The job title of guide isn’t a protected profession in Norway. There are more than 150 regulated professions that require somebody working in that field to have some education, qualification or accreditation to perform the role. 

Due to the seasonal nature of tourism in Norway, many working in the sector as guides are part-time employees. 

The fact that anyone can be or become a tour guide in Norway or use the job title when advertising their services can lead to inconsistencies with the quality and accuracy of information and experiences provided to tourists.

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“It’s a problem for the entire industry when there are no concrete requirements,” Oscar Almgren, head of Uteguiden, a tour company in Sunnmøre in west Norway, told NRK. 

When it was formed in 2021, the Norwegian government pledged to set up a national approval scheme for local and regional guides. The system will introduce basic requirements that all guides must meet. 

Some local areas, such as Ålesund, have their own certification processes. In Ålseund, guides must undergo 150 hours of courses and pass oral and written exams, according to Margunn Kristin Vassdal, head of the Ålesund Guide Association.  

Accurate communication, risk assessment and first aid knowledge are the areas being prioritised in formulating policy for national guidelines. Norway’s government will make the official proposal for the introduction of national certification in December. 

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