The joy of discovery in NewcastleGateshead

Becoming a North East England Blue Badge Guide was quite simply one of the best decisions of my life.  The Blue Badge qualification is a national and internationally recognised benchmark in professional tourist guiding skills and knowledge and so is, in itself, something to treasure.  But for me, best of all, is being able to put those skills and that knowledge into practice in a destination as truly special as NewcastleGateshead.       

 This is the place where I was born and brought up but NewcastleGateshead (and myself!) have changed somewhat since I first began to guide here more than 20 years ago.  This is a place which has raised its game enormously and re-invented itself to become a destination of distinction comparable with the best City's in the UK.  It rightly enjoys the attention of leisure and business visitors from around the country as well as from overseas. And in raising its game, NewcastleGateshead has helped shape the destiny of small tourism businesses including my own.     

But if NewcastleGateshead is an inspirational place to visit, then it is also an inspirational place to guide in.  Its vibrancy is palpable. Its history and heritage easily brought to life. Cultural events are as inclusive as possible to as wide an audience as possible.  And its welcome is the warmest of any.  When I guide here and when I see first -hand the reaction of visitors to all that NewcastleGateshead has to offer, there is a real feeling of satisfaction.

I've always held that the tourism industry is about the joy of discovery and the fun to be had in new adventures and in travel.  So being a Blue Badge guide in that industry is undoubtedly the best job I could be doing. And to be doing that job in the ever-fascinating NewcastleGateshead is simply the icing on the cake.

Jan Williams, North East England Blue Badge Guide

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