Since 1985, the Institut de Tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) is the only institute recognised by law to offer this course. Prior to 1985, it was offered at different educational institutes. This institute is a CEGEP or college. The ITHQ determines the content and structure of the tourist guide course in collaboration with APGT, the agencies which employ tour guides and Tourisme Montréal.
For the 2014-2015 season, the course is offered.
Since 1992, the course was again revaluated and changed based on the needs of the market. We now require potential tourist guides to speak a minimum of three languages. English and French of course, and a third language. Candidates must speak the languages fluently to be accepted into the course. Those wanting to be driver guides must have a coach- driving license and are only required to speak English and French, though many also speak a third language.
The programme is over 240 hours of class time but not including the individual research students must complete. The course is offered every two years, to allow those who would like to take the tour directors’ course on alternative years.
One must go through a screening process before being accepted. All languages are tested, résumés are verified for work and educational experience. Thirty of the best candidates are chosen to follow the course.
Some Elements of the training include the following:
- Training so future tourist guides are capable of explaining Montréal’s lifestyles and activities to visitors; developing animation techniques;
- To develop in each Tourist Guide, the ability to carry out research; an abiding interest in local news and events; a sense of respect not only for visitors but for colleagues; the ability to communicate effectively;
- Training consists of the following subjects: Montréal’s cultural communities, cultural understanding of the visitor to Montréal, Physiology of the visitor or tourist, cultural activities of Montréalers, history, geography, politics, architecture (including monuments, works of art etc), economy, flora and fauna, First Nations, Montréal’s Underground City, religion (awareness to other religions, to sensitise guides), the fur industry, socio-economics systems, Montréal’s various industries and much more;
- Over 90 hours are devoted to the most important aspect of the training including proper vocal and non-vocal communication, art of speaking, creating tours, dynamic presentations of subjects, troubleshooting, proper techniques in open spaces and crowded areas, and much more.
Examinations: A passing grade for the course and each subject is 70%, in order to receive a attestation/diploma and Montréal city permit.
Exams: As the course is for tourist guides, emphasis is on practical oral examinations with some written exams. Students are constantly examined during the course of their training to improve their skills. For their final exam, students are evaluated by future employers and members of the APGT during walking tours, coach tours and underground city tours.
Diploma: Students who have successfully completed their training receive their diploma from ITHQ. The ITHQ will then submit the names of these individuals to the City of Montréal permit department where the individual may then obtain their license to conduct tours in Montréal. The cost of the permit increases every year.
Requirements to be admitted to the Tourist Guide Course:
- Be at least 18 years of age before the courses begin.
- Hold at least a high school or vocational diploma, or its equivalent.
- Be fluent in spoken and written French and English; speaking a third language is an asset.
- Undergo an interview during which your language skills will be evaluated.
Tuitions Fees in 2014/2015 are $2,077 CAD. The Montréal Tourist Guide Program is recognised by Bill 90, the law that recognises the development of training in the workforce.
For more information about this programme, please visit the website of the ITHQ.