Asier Garmendia: "Tour guides who have become certified are so due to a series of quality and excellence requirements".
Why did you decide to become a guide?
Art History has always been my passion. Added to this is the fact that I could not be more in love with my city, Granada. But above all what I love is to show it to those who don’t know it. If you put it all together, this is simply the perfect job. In fact, I studied law for three years before that, but I saw in time (fortunately for me) that it wasn’t my thing. However, after I became an Art Historian I was so taken by culture, a curiosity was awakened that was already innate in me so strong towards my city, that I could not avoid the need to show it to others.
What do you like best about being a guide?
Well, first of all to make my city known, which for me is a source of pride, to see how people who come from outside are surprised and marveled at visiting it with me and how we can provide added value through our information. I also love to visit with people who are interested and who master other areas outside of mine but from which I can learn a lot. Although, above all, it is the luck of meeting people from all over the world, seeing their perception of things and cultures and that this makes my mind much more open and comprehensive.
What is the biggest challenge as a guide after COVID-19?
As freelance guides we have always had a cyclical and seasonal type of activity. But it is true that the high seasons are usually very good and that assured us a stability. Right now the situation is uncertain. The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is not to reinvent yourself, as they say. For me the challenge is to innovate, that is, to continue working on what I like, to guide, but using new tools, especially within the field of communication. And to create new ways of guiding adapted to the times and to the unique situation in which we find ourselves.
Some funny anecdote of these years
Then a visit to the Alhambra that I paid to one of the princes of Saudi Arabia comes to mind. It is complicated in itself as you can imagine, but a curious situation occurred. The prince was thirsty and the only place to get water was in the vending machines in the toilets. When they went to pay they only had tickets of the kind you only see a few times in your life, which of course did not accept the vending machine. So luckily, I was on the loose and ended up paying for the drinks for the Saudi royal family.
What are the keys to being a good tour guide?
Perhaps the most important thing is empathy, the ability to put yourself in the visitor’s shoes and adapt to their needs. Not all travelers are the same or have the same interests, or belong to the same culture. Entertaining them, making them have fun and adapting your speech to their needs is probably the most important thing.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about doing this?
First of all, having knowledge about the place where you are going to work is the most important thing, but perhaps it is something that is presupposed since you must have. So my main advice is to dedicate yourself to this work by vocation and not to get out of the way or as something secondary. Passion about what you do and your work is key, and in this one even more so.
Why do you recommend a certified tour guide?
Mainly because you ensure a minimum quality in the visit, of real and contrasted knowledge. To get the license you must pass a process at the academic level that ensures a good visit later. Just as you can’t trust a doctor who doesn’t have a medical degree, you can’t trust a visit made by an unlicensed guide.
The tour guides who have become certified are so due to a series of quality and excellence requirements that they meet and put into practice when carrying out the visits.
In love with his city, Tourist Guide by vocation and passionate about the History of Art. You don’t need anything else to have the guarantee that with Asier Garmendia you will discover a Granada you never imagined. Find out more about this Certified Guide in the interview we give him in Amazing Guides.