Tour guides demand protection and further legislation

Tour guides are calling for greater legislation to protect their work. Photo credit: Hop on Hop off Tours

ROME - Italy's tour guides Tuesday took to the streets of Rome in protest, demanding that laws be implemented to regulate the profession.

 Guides were calling for new legislation be introduced in order to stop people without the necessary certification impersonating local guides and taking business away from their qualified counterparts.

 The demonstration was championed by AGTA, UILTuCS, and UGL, three of Italy’s leading tourism industry syndicates who all spoke of their concern at how the industry was being abused and nothing was being done about it.

 “Tour guides are one of the key figures in cultural heritage, and they deserve laws that regulate qualifications and tests of ability appropriately. The quality and competency of who works for the sites of our heritage… must be ascertained” said President of AGTA Isabella Ruggiero.

 Speaking ahead of the rally, she also stated: “We cannot allow regions to start handing out licenses that are valid nationwide unless a law to regulate the profession is introduced.

 “The lack of transparency and seriousness of some qualifying examinations has even been denounced by tour guide associations.”

 Also raised was the lack of taxes imposed on guides who come to Italy from the European Community. These tour guides are able to take advantage of an incentive for those that do not permanently reside in Italy which enables them to work in the country all year round without having to pay Italian taxes, while local guides have no such exemption.  

 The demonstration took place outside the Montecitorio Palace, the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.