How to become a tourist guide…?
You may think that the profession of a tourist guide is a nice side job for history or art students in Vienna. But that is wrong: there is much more to it than a well-founded historical or art historical knowledge.
The trade of the tourist is a strictly regulated trade. In order to be able to exercise it, you have to complete a training. This training is very time-intensive in Vienna. Depending on the institute, the training to become a tourist guide lasts 1½ to 2 years. Both institutes WIFI and BFI offer the so-called “preparatory courses for the vocational qualification examination to the tourist guide” at regular intervals. At the end of the preparatory course, three examinations have to be taken at the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO) in order to obtain the vocational qualification. This is a professional written examination, an oral theoretical examination and a practical examination, including a bus tour, a guided tour of the city and a guided tour of a museum. If all these examinations have been successfully completed, there is nothing to prevent the commercial application.
The tour guides in Vienna must be able to link historical facts with architectural knowledge as well as art historical details. Who lived in the Albertina? Who built Schonbrunn Palace? And why is the heroic monument of the Red Army situated at Schwarzenbergplatz? All these are questions that a good tourist guide in Vienna must have an answer ready for. And last but not least, the Viennese tourist guide has to tell his customers an interesting and entertaining story. A story based on historical facts, architectural knowledge and art historical details.