Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Cardiff Linguist Guides Lead the Way

A presentation has taken place at Cardiff Castle for new tourist guides who have recently qualified as official Cardiff Green Badge Guides. All the new guides are fluent in one or more foreign language.

Official guides usually take the Institute of Tourist Guiding’s Green Badge qualification, but a bespoke course was developed for Cardiff to cater for the increasing demand for guides who are fluent in languages other than English.

Between January and June this year, eight linguists took an intensive training course, which culminated in demanding written and practical assessments. The first graduates were presented with their certificates and badges by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Brian Griffiths at a ceremony in Cardiff Castle.

The course was supported by Visit Wales, Capital Region Tourism, Tourism Training for Wales and Cardiff Council, and Sally Edwards Hart, who manages the Council’s Tourism Development & Visitor Services team, said the new guides will be a great asset to the city.

“Having a pool of qualified guides with foreign language skills can only benefit Cardiff, especially as we are one of the top 10 cities in the UK for overseas visitors”, she said. “The languages spoken by the new guides include Polish, Italian, French and German, reflecting where many of our visitors are from, and one of them is also able to guide in Welsh.

“Having professionally qualified guides gives visitors the confidence that Cardiff values their business and is making an effort to welcome them, and I’m sure the new graduates will do the city proud.”

Catherine Lutken, one of the Italian-speaking guides said:
“Cardiff is such an exciting place these days, and this course has given us a wonderful opportunity to get involved and help introduce our city to overseas visitors.

“The training has been pretty rigorous, and brought home to us how much respect tourist guides deserve. Not only do they have to have countless facts and figures at their fingertips, but they have to be able to think on their feet and deal with those obscure questions that come out of the blue. This new course has really helped prepare us for those situations.”

Eight guides completed the 6-month course, and their services can now be booked through the Wales Official Tour Guides Association at

The Linguist Guides are also offering walking tours of Cardiff city centre every Saturday morning, departing from the Tourist Information Centre in the Hayes. The tours will be in English, with other languages available on request, and last an hour and a half. Prices are £6 per person, or £15 for a family of two adults and two children. For more details or to book a place, contact the Tourist Information Centre on 029 2087 3573, or

The Cardiff Linguist Guides course was developed by Wales Official Tour Guides Association, with the support of UWIC and Coleg Llandrillo, and accredited by the Institute of Tourism Guiding.

Photograph: The Lord Mayor of Cardiff Cllr Brian Griffiths with the linguist guides at Cardiff Castle


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