Designing model of the effect of tour guides in the promotion of Iran's tourism industry

Document Type : Research Article


) Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Economics, Management and Accounting, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran


Tour guides can be considered ambassadors of countries and tourist destinations, who play a significant role in ensuring the satisfaction of tourists, the image of the destination and the return of tourists. The recognition of tourist destinations is highly dependent on the performance of tour guides. This research seeks to evaluate the relationship between the role of tour guides in promoting tourism and its relationship in creating a good image of the destination and increasing the willingness of tourists to visit again in Iran. The above will be reviewed, considering the tour guides' satisfaction as a mediator. This research was carried out using the integrated technique of ISM and SEM, and data were collected from 11 academic experts and tourism sector activists and 86 domestic and foreign tourists who visited Iran's attractions and using online structured questionnaires. The results indicate a positive and direct relationship between the role of tour guides in promoting tourism and the destination's image. In addition, a direct effect was found between the promotional role of tour guides and tourists’ revisit intention. In this article, the mediating role of guided tours was also confirmed. In addition, the importance of tour guides in promoting the image of the destination and the tourist's intention to revisit has been highlighted in this study. The determined findings are expected to help improve the performance of tour guides in promoting tourism
Extended Abstract
Tourism is a multifaceted industry that continues through joint efforts between different stakeholders. Tour guides are key stakeholders in the industry as they guide tourists in providing insight into a country and its attractions. This case also includes a country's cultural and traditional contexts, the suggestions provided, the rules and regulations, and other expected behavioral characteristics that must be followed. Iran can be a desirable tourist destination in Asia due to its natural attractions along with historical and cultural attractions and heritage.
At the forefront of the tourism industry, tour guides bring many benefits to a country with their goodwill. They represent a country's unique history and are the nation's spokesperson for their cultural heritage. Travel agencies and tourist destinations provide services such as translating, providing information, and templates, leading tours and cultural brokerage, and organizing tours. With their knowledge and interpretations, tour guides play a significant role in enriching the individual knowledge level of tourists and can promote the trip to a central learning experience. Zhang and Chow (2014) have outlined how tour guides provide tourists with the “moment of truth” that can make a trip enjoyable or an unpleasant experience for them. Therefore, providing a satisfactory travel experience to tourists can be considered a determining factor for the success of a travel agency, which also affects the image of the destination, tourist behavior and loyalty. In addition, tour guides help in marketing and branding, leading to new businesses and jobs. The main purpose of this study is to examine and evaluate the structural relationships between the "advertising role of tour guides, destination image and tourist's revisit intention". The mediating role of tourist satisfaction as an outcome of guided tours will also be assessed. Other goals that we are trying to achieve in this research are (1) highlighting the role of tour guides in promoting tourism to help develop the destination's image and reputation among tourists; (2) designing a model to investigate the interrelationship between the promotional role of tour guides, levels of satisfaction with guided tours, destination image and tourists' revisit intention; (3) testing mutual relationships in the model based on data collected from domestic and foreign tourists who have visited Iranian attractions; (4) Investigating the mediating effects of tour guide satisfaction on the interrelationship between tour guides' performance, destination image, and tourists' revisit intention; and finally (5) discussing and presenting suggestions for improving the performance of tour guides in the field of tourism promotion.
The present research is applied research in terms of direction and in terms of the type and method of collecting survey-descriptive information. The method of data collection is through questionnaires and library studies. Structural-interpretive modelling and structural equation modelling are used to present the model and analyze the data.
Results and discussion
This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge related to the performance of tour guides, as it is one of the few studies that presents a structural model through PLS-SEM that examines the relationship between the role of tour guides in tourism promotion, destination image, and tourist revisit intention. It describes tourists' satisfaction with guided tours through
These hypotheses were investigated with the SEM approach, and all were confirmed.
This research concludes that tour guides are the heart and soul of the tourism industry. They contribute to the many factors that encourage the success of the industry by providing high-quality services that have the potential to increase tourist satisfaction. At the forefront of the industry, they are critical players in developing tourists' destination image and behavioral intentions.
There are several suggestions to improve the behavior and performance of tour guides in Iran in order to maintain the image of the country's destination in the eyes of tourists and increase the intention of tourists to visit again.
Basic formal courses and continuing professional education should be introduced by relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Tourism, travel and tourism agencies, hotels, tourism training centers such as universities and other institutions. Ease of access to institutions providing courses or training should also be ensured. Courses or training should focus on issues related to tour guiding and developing the skills of tour guides. These include content that fosters target knowledge, professional ethics and attitudes, communication skills (including multi-lingual skills), organization, collaborative skills, empathy and understanding, problem-solving, adaptability, and the ability to improvise. Slow courses or training in terms of technical knowledge about existing destinations and attractions should also be included. Potential tour guides should have a proper understanding of the culture and social background of tourists, common issues and managing a group of people with diverse cultures, and at the same time, have a sincere and compassionate attitude towards providing tourism services. This should also be included as part of training or even as part of certification/licensing assessments.
Incentives should also be provided as incentives for tour guides to take professional courses. Some incentives can include offers for secure and permanent employment in travel and tourism agencies. A reasonable salary system based on the professional skills and working abilities of tour guides should be established by travel and tourism agencies. With this salary, it provides an incentive for tour guides to maintain their performance. Considering the feedback from tourists participating in guided tours, reasonable rewards can also be received for tour guides, thus encouraging them to work.
The relevant authorities can establish the tour guide profession as an official discipline. By doing so, they can require people to have a valid license to act as a tour guide. The performance of tour guides should be continuously monitored based on feedback received from tourists participating in a tour. It is only necessary to have a suitable means of monitoring the tour guides. Monitoring can be integrated during the license renewal process in addition to performance-based evaluation report sheets or recommendations of travel agencies. This also ensures the optimal quality of services provided.
Tour guides should know their role as representatives of a particular country or destination. Therefore, considering tourists' needs, specific desires and cultural differences, they should make the most significant possible effort to provide quality and complete services. They must also recognize their responsibility in entertaining tourists, providing interpretations or insights about various attractions, and facilitating ongoing tour activities while maintaining service quality standards. Tour guides must be adaptable and keep up with the changing times and technological advancements to contribute to promoting the tourism industry. It is recommended that tour guides encourage tourists participating in their tours to provide feedback for future improvements in the field of tourism services provided. Tour guides must fulfill their responsibilities and promote their destination to ensure success in the tourism industry in Iran.
There is no funding support.
Authors’ Contribution
  the author approved the content of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
The Authors declared no conflict of interest.
The authors appreciate to all the scientific consultants of this paper.


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