Anna Lena Soderlund Tornell
A Tour Manager represents one of the vocations that have a great impact on the tourists mind, perception, interaction and what he will experience while traveling. There is today a general feeling that the mission of his/her work slightly has changed over the years. From being a problem solver and guide, with a wealth of information, we now often feel our mission is to be a messenger with a higher purpose.
If we see tourism as a special force for peace rather than as an industry, the meaning of being a tourist changes as well as the task for the Tour Manager. This is both on the local level, within the tour group itself, and in the area traveled to, as well as globally and in peoples mind.
A political leader can lay the ground with various laws and programmes, a school teacher and the media can build up a greater understanding for different cultures, but it is in the real encounter with the “other” culture we have a chance to reach out and make a difference. A tour manager is instrumental in this efficient way of culture understanding. It is therefore important to understand the highly professional role a tour manager has and make use of his knowledge and skill to build bridges over culture gaps in both tourism generating countries (i.e. when the tourist comes home again) and tourism receiving areas (i.e. socially, economically and culturally) for mutual understanding and respect.
For a future with World Peace and efficient sustainable tourism, we hope to see more escorted tours by internationally trained professionals and more global educational opportunities for Tour Managers. We can and do make a difference!