Free walking tour, guided visit of Pula for just 1 euro ... no thank you
Downtown, at the farmer’s market, at the baker's... Good morning, excuse me, how much is the bread? It's for free, madam! Ours is a tip based bakery! You can tip me as much as you think... however we recommend ....
At first glance, this unlikely to happen scene seems favorable for the lucky customer. But are we 100% sure that this type of situation could not get the baker’s category to a no longer sustainable situation? And perhaps in the end the customers also wouldn’t be happy with it? What would happen to other bakers, those who can't afford to give away their bread (perhaps because it is of higher quality and therefore more expensive)? And what kind of bread based on customers’ tips would the baker bake? Would he offer the best quality bread? Would he choose less quality ingredients to guarantee his profit? And what would be the next step? Would bread be given as a gift only in case other products are purchased? Would customers be paid by the entrepreneur to go to a certain shop?
I started with the above made up scenario to spend few words and my opinion on free or 1 euro guided tours that have recently invaded European cities, including Pula.
I am a professional guide, and I also consider myself to be professional. This means for me being up to date with all the administrative aspects such as paying the due taxes, having the required qualifications, authorisations, licenses, issuing invoices.
In my opinion being professional means never stop getting all sorts of important information for doing my job honestly and legally, investing time and money in my education and to be updated, being visible with my face and my offers, looking for new perspectives on what it is to accompany people to discover a new place, how to help them to "get into it". It also means believing in what you are doing, not practicing the profession of a tour guide when you are "unloaded" from other jobs. It means being always present, not taking advantage of the people who come to visit your hometown by offering them your service only in the summer, but being available all year round.
The just reward for a quality service
The controversial title of my post is precisely regarding the meaning of 1 euro service. I think there is nothing good and fair in a non charged service or a 1 euro service. It is not good for the local place, for the category of tour guides and in the end it is not even good for customers to get a guided visit based on tips or for 1 euro because of no or really insignificant taxes payed for that service. 1 euro guided tours are offered only because it is forbidden in Croatia to work for unpaid services.
Those who offer this type of tours focus on mass tourism and exclusively on the low price, the lowest possible.
Normally local agencies do not work that way. The 1 euro or free walking tour agencies have the same type of offer in each city they are present. To remain on the market, these entrepreneurs can do nothing but exploit the guides and try to pay as little taxes as possible. I think that if those who work are not motivated and they see guiding exclusively as a source of income, the quality of their tour guiding is bound to collapse.
Helping small local and honest businesses
Asking for a professional service and not just searching for the lowest price means also helping local small businesses in a concrete way. By doing so you ensure that people like me who believe in this profession, believe in it all year round and always try to do it in the best and correct manner, continue to exist. A fair professional and serious guide will always ask for a just reward for his/her services.
If you are interested, you can check on my tours to discover the cities of Istria and/or you can book my new walking (small group) tour to the city of Pula - Pula Social Tour. A way to get to know Pula and maybe other people in an ethical way.
As a guide I can help you plan your discovery of Istria, I provide services for individuals, small and large groups and also for other cities and on different days. If interested, please, do not hesitate to contact me.
I wish you a pleasant stay in Istria and I hope to meet you soon.