عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسندگان [English]چکیده [English]
Tour guides are frontline employees in the tourism industry who play an important role in providing informative and new experiences for tourists seeking exotic destinations like Iran. Success of the tourism industry very much depends on the performance of tour guides in each destination. Despite the importance of tour guiding in delivering a satisfied tour experience for package tourist, it has not attracted much of scholarly attention in the tourism discipline. Little research has been carried out in order to systematically examine the performance of tour guides throughout the world. This present research is aimed specifically at the assessment of attributes and performance parameters of tour guides in Iran. The evaluation here is based on the application of importance-performance analysis (IPA) factor as related to data assembled from incoming tours from European countries. IPA is a simple and useful technique in prioritizing decision options and resource allocation for an organization based on its product or service attributes. In this research, initially a list of all relevant tour guide attributes was documented based on an intensive literature review. After collating this data with advice obtained from well-informed experts including academics, tour operators, tour guides and officials from Iran’s Tourism Organization, and the Iranian Tour Guides Association, 31 relevant attributes were chosen. The next stage of this research required collection of tourists’ assessments of the relative importance of the tour guides’ attributes as expressed in the questionnaires provided for them, as well as the performance of their Iranian tour guides in these attributes. Data were collected in Tehran, from April to October 2010 at the end of their tours. A total of 270 copies of questionnaire were distributed between European tourists who travel in package tours to Iran. Among the returned
questionnaires, 142 questionnaires were deemed complete and usable. The cronbach's alpha of all performance & importance questions was
.95.The rating of their individual Iranian guides incorporated the use of the 5 point Likert scale and the IPA matrix was used to quantify tour guides’ strengths and weaknesses based on the chosen attributes. The results of the IPA data indicate that for European tourists the
Iranian tour guides performed well in attributes including, politeness, sense of humor, cooperation with other services staff, a good knowledge of the cultural and historical aspects of the tours, the respect paid to the customers, etc. The results also indicated that tour
guides in Iran should aim to improve their proficiency in the guiding language, problem solving, flexibility, interpretation between tourists and the local people they meet, an in depth knowledge of the various destinations visited and of the planned routes, presenting brief information and abilities in good presentation skills. The results of this research illustrate that use of the IPA model can be an effective managerial tool in its application to the evaluation of Iranian guides. Based on the identification of their strengths and weaknesses the results will assist practitioners with the allocation of resources to be effective in the improvement of the Iranian tour guiding service.