In recent years the phenomenon of illegal tours organized by travel agencies has increased rapidly and essentially has abolished the tour guide profession, according to the Association of Professional Tour Guides of Crete-Santorini.
According to press reports, the association filed a report to the Prosecutor of Heraklio, Crete, in late April stating that persons posing as tour guides were secretly giving tours to groups of tourists.
As reported by the tour guide association, most travel agents sidestep the tour guide profession and assign tours to employees or associates, who have neither the skills nor the training.
The tour guide profession, considered a “closed profession,” has been a controversial subject among Greek tourism professionals for years.
The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) recently requested permission from the Culture and Tourism Ministry to allow Greek archaeologists, historians and art historians to give guided tours in Museums and Archaeological Sites.
According to HATTA, the tour guide sector, in its current “closed” state, can not serve the needs of the tourism market.