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Cultural touring is an important part of the tourism industry, since 31% of the total number of tourists is motivated by culture. Cultural travellers often use the services of a tourist guide whom they figure out to be a knowledgeable person, fluent in the language of the tourist, a leader who will solve their problems, a helpful, good-humoured and polite professional, to whom endless other characteristics mighty still be added.

This paper is based on a study that took place in Portugal, from April to September 2008, and is part of a PhD project. 682 tourists of different nationalities were inquired about the attributes and roles of their guides, their importance and performance.

According to the results tourist guides exceed the expectations of their clients in most items, demonstrating a high level of qualification and service quality. However, items such as liveliness, humour and erudition seem to be less relevant than what might usually be expected, and tourists rather try to find a well-informed good leader, who can act as cultural mediator and heritage interpreter.

Keywords: Tourist expectations; attributes and roles; tourist guide

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Management Cases (IJMC) developed in 2002 from its predecessor The Journal of Management Cases, and present case studies across a broad range of management disciplines. The IJMC is the official journal of the CIRCLE Research Centre. CIRCLE (Centre for International Research Consumers, Locations and their Environments) is a virtual research group spreading over 70 universities.
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