City of Angels Welcomes First Official Los Angeles Tour Guide Association
L.A. joins 20+ other major U.S. cities with new entity aimed at training, promoting, and regulating tour guides in Southern California
LOS ANGELES (Jan. 30, 2019) – A coalition of Los Angeles tour guides, tour operators, partners, and public historians have gathered together to form the Los Angeles Tour Guide Association (LA Guides), it was announced today.
With a mission to provide high-quality resources to tour guides, tourism professionals, and the public in Los Angeles County and surrounding areas, the group seeks to empower city ambassadors to better represent the city and themselves.
“With the Super Bowl, Olympics, and World Cup slated to hit Los Angeles in the next decade, the L.A. tourism industry breaking records year after year, the city’s undisputed place as the world’s entertainment capital, and an ever-increasing interest in Los Angeles history, the time is
ripe for LA Guides,” said W. Lynn Garrett of cult-favorite HiddenLA, the group’s president. “Our goal is to create a more community-minded, safe, reputable, and exploration-friendly atmosphere for residents, visitors, and tour guides alike, so that everyone feels encouraged to fall in love with Los Angeles just like we did.”
According to a report this month from the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, a record-breaking 50 million people visited Los Angeles in 2018, spending more than 30.1 million nights in hotels across L.A. county. And yet, until recently, Los Angeles – the second largest city in the nation – was the only major American city without a dedicated tour guide association. That ended last year, when Garrett and others united to create the group.
“It is great for Los Angeles to be joining the 19 other major U.S. destination cities – including San Francisco and San Diego – in creating a professional tour guide association,” said Ellen Malasky, President, National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations, and Board Member,
Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C. “Our goal at the national level is to promote the highest degree of professionalism for tour guides. Professional tour guide associations create opportunities for training, sharing information, and adhering to a code of
Currently Los Angeles tour guides and operators are not required to obtain a license, certification, or training of any kind and are not subject to any sort of industry-specific regulation, which has in recent years caused a number of safety and ethical concerns. One of LA Guides’ most immediate goals is to work with the city’s tourism community to address these issues and find solutions that benefit tourists, tour operators, and Angelenos alike.
LA Guides seeks to accomplish its mission through a commitment to tour guide advocacy, partnerships, and community outreach; a top-notch education program, including tour guide certification, professional development, and community programs; a comprehensive directory
and referral service; resources for members to obtain liability insurance; and, eventually, a printed and online guide of the city for tour guides to use as a template of reputable research and information.
LA Guides members represent companies as wide-ranging as Atlas Obscura, California Tour Lines, Dearly Departed Tours, Dot Red Art Tours, HiddenLA, Hollywood Forever Cemetery Tours, LA Woman Tours, Red Line Tours, TOURific, and more. Memberships are open to all tour guides, tour operators, supporters, and affiliates in the tourism industry in the Los Angeles area. The group is currently taking applications for new members, as well as offering a variety of educational seminars.
The group held its first official meeting at Farmers Market in early 2018 and will meet monthly in 2019. For more information, please visit laguides.org.