Free tours !? A tourist trap!

For several years, the Free Tours offer has been rolling out in France. What is behind this promise of a free guided tour?

A Guide !? A What…?

Have you ever seen a guide … a real … a professional … with a guide-lecturer card to do a free tour? Thank god not yet …!

Who are these people who offer free tours?

First of all, these people self-proclaimed “tourist guide”; just like I recently proclaimed myself a shaman or dentist because I can pull out baby teeth without hurting children. So far, nothing complicated.

Let’s take a closer look. Let’s take an example among the others: Marseille Free Walking Tour

Below the business card of one of the founders

With regard to this business card, we immediately feel that we are dealing with a local professional guide with university training giving access to the professional guide-lecturer card.

And what a happy surprise to see that Marseille Free Walking Tour is a member of the Free Tour Community.

Among the principles of this wonderful community we retain:

  • “a global community of local businesses”
  • “the freedom to decide how much you want to contribute in the end without any pressure”
  • “make the world better”

The realty of Free Tours

Behind the attractive concept of “free tour” hides a much less attractive reality.

The “guide” is not a professional

What credit should be given to his visit, his speech? Several guides of our association have recognized certain “guides” of free tours to beg at the corner of McDonald’s the day before …

Begging: a trademark

This is the whole principle of the free tour. Attract everyone coming with free to end up asking for his charity. If you are ready to give 5, 10 or 20 euros to an illustrious stranger without qualification, wouldn’t it make sense to favor the remuneration of a professional tour guide?

Where your money goes ?

Here is the operating base and the calculation method of free tours.

Take the example of a free tour with 20 participants. At the end of the tour, half of the participants give € 5 and the other half give € 10; an average of 7.5 €

7.5 € x 20 = 150 euros in cash in the guide pocket.

And then … the guide must pay a commission (usually 20%) to the free tour agency he represents. The agency therefore requests a group photo to count the participants and receive their due.

As you have understood, all of this operation raises questions about the legality of work, the declaration of work and the moral of the free tours agency which places false guides who spread in front of tourists in often fanciful speeches.

Free tours serve cities and territories

At a time when our tourism institutions are deploying millions of euros to promote the destination “France”, free tours thwart all their efforts.

If the training of guide-lecturer exists, is it not to train professionals capable in all circumstances of promoting a city or a territory with national and international tourists?

Are self-proclaimed guides, usurpers of a professional identity, from the principle of uberization of the economy beneficial to a territory? How many disappointed international tourists will not return to a city because the guides are bad?

Professional tour guides have had enough!

Recently, tour guides have spontaneously mobilized against the “Discovery Walks” platform. Faced with the avalanche of reactions, the platform was forced to withdraw its free tour. A first victory for the tour guides!

Free-tours represent unfair competition practiced by platforms that remunerate false guides for tips. These operate in several cities in France: Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nantes, Paris and Lille.

Guides Sud Provence fully intend to play their part in this fight. Indeed, the association defends quality tourism practiced by properly paid guides, all of whom hold a professional card obtained after university studies.

The association has carried out a census of the free-tour platforms which operate on the national territory and which it has transmitted to the entire profession. This census shows that out of the 13 administrative regions of mainland France, eight are affected by free-tour platforms (soon 9 with the Bourgogne-Franche Comté region ), for a total of 11 cities. The number of free tours platforms is constantly increasing.

List of free-tour platforms

We invite all professional tour guides holding the guide-lecturer card to act against free tours which discredit our profession.

It is thanks to the action of each of us that the public authorities and tourism institutions will become aware of the danger that these free-tours represent for a sustainable development of the destination France.

Région Sud-Paca

  • marseillefreewalkingtour.com
  • freetour.com/marseille
  • guruwalk.com/marseille
  • airotour.com/france/marseille/free-tour-marseille
  • freewalkingtournice.com
  • civitatis.com/en/aix-en-provence/free-walking-tour

Région Occitanie

  • civitatis.com
  • montpellierfreetour.com/fr/accueil/
  • guruwalk.com/walks/14881-montpellier-free-walking-tour
  • toursgratis.com/montpellier-tours/montpellier-free-walking-tour
  • toulousefreetours.com
  • soutours.com/free-tour-toulouse/

Région Nouvelle Aquitaine

  • freetoursbordeaux.com/freetours/
  • freetour.com/bordeaux
  • guruwalk.com/bordeaux
  • civitatis.com/en/bordeaux/free-walking-tour/

Région Pays de la Loire

  • civitatis.com/en/nantes/free-walking-tour/
  • freewalkingtournantes.com/fr/
  • guruwalk.com/walks/31476-discover-the-most-special-nantes-free-tour

Région parisienne

  • neweuropetours.eu/fr/sandemans-tours/paris/visite-guidee-gratuite-paris/
  • etsionvisitaitparis.com/activites/free-tour-paris
  • freetour.com/paris
  • discoverwalks.com/tour/city/paris-walking-tours/
  • strawberrytours.com/paris
  • guruwalk.com/paris
  • cityfreetour.com/paris/
  • freetoursbyfoot.com/free-walking-tours-paris/
  • whiteumbrellatours.com/paris-tours/
  • toursgratis.com/tours-paris/paris-free-walking-tour

Région Les Hauts de France

  • lillefreetour.com/fr/
  • vivastour.com/en/provider/lille-free-tour
  • guruwalk.com/lille Région

Région Grand Est

  • happy-strasbourg.eu/fr/accueil/
  • freetour.com/strasbourg
  • guruwalk.com/strasbourg
  • civitatis.com/fr/strasbourg/free-tour-strasbourg/
  • airotour.com/france/strasbourg/free-tour-strasbourg

Région Auvergne-Rhône Alpes

  • freetourlyon.com/fr
  • lyonexplorer.com/fr/free-walking-tour-2/
  • airotour.com/france/lyon/free-tour-lyon
  • guruwalk.com/lyon
  • civitatis.com/en/lyon/free-walking-tour/
  • toursgratis.com/tours-lyon/lyon-free-walking-tour

Région Bourgogne-Franche Comté

  • freetourdedijon.blogspot.com/

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