Polite and knowledgeable tour guides are much sought after by foreign tourists who want to hire private tour guides to make most of their trips to Beijing China. So, how to find these helpful and resourceful tour guides? Usually foreign tourists rely on the following channels to locate private tour guides:
1) Travel Forum and Travel Review Websites: like Tripadvisors.com, Virtualtourist.com …
2) Tour guide matching websites: like synotrip.com/tour-guides, freeiva.com…
3) Contact tour guides directly at some scenic areas
4) Through word of mouth
5) Local travel agency
Maybe a travel agency is the last thing you will think of. But the fact is that paying a tour guide through a travel agency is the only legal activity in terms of offering tour guide service. A private tour guide trading with tourists directly is illegal in China. In China, a licensed tour guide must be designated by a tour company.
A money-oriented tour guide directly trading with the tourists is a kind of illegal travel business. Because a tour guide is not a legal entity, unable to hold responsibility for the tourists. After all, travel business is fairly a risky business involved with the life of the tourists.
The existence of a self-employed tour guide doesn’t prove it is legal in China.
Many foreign tourists have a simple thought of paying a tour guide to show me around and nobody going to get in trouble. “Getting into trouble or not” will not deny the fact that private tour guides trading with tourists directly is illegal in China.
It is advisable to avoid using self-employed tour guides, keep from illegal “black” tour guides though sometimes they may offer much cheaper and “good” tour guide service directly. Pay a little more for safety by locating a legitimate tour operator for licensed and legal tour guides.
Well, you may doubt that I’m trying to drum up a bit of business for tour companies in Beijing by speaking out the fact above. Some foreign tourists think the last thing they would do is hire a tour company that has no idea what is going on in Beijing, and trying to scare tourists with this kind of nonsense. There are hundreds of tour guides delivering an independent and good service. In lots of cases better than the tour guides designated by tour companies.
So, independent tour guides or tour guides designated by a tour company?
It is a never ending story.
But one thing is sure that everybody will be responsible for their own choice.