Guided Tour Consulting for the Attractions and Experience Development Series in Singapore, November 2013
Staff from Turnstile Tours and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum were invited to Singapore by the country’s Tourism Board, Association of Singapore Attractions, Workforce Development Agency, and the National Heritage Board to provide trainings and consultations on storytelling skills and developing more engaging, interactive guided tours for cultural institutions, tourist attractions, and tour companies.
As part of a professional development series entitled Delivering the Story, Turnstile Tours’ Cindy VandenBosch and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s Director of Education Miriam Bader conducted a half-day seminar, full-day masterclass, and keynote lectures on topics such as multi-sensory engagement on tours, training and retaining guides, responding to visitor feedback, current trends and practices in museum education and tourism, and community-based partnerships for cultural programming. In preparation for this training series, Cindy and Miriam conducted a survey that was taken by over 150 cultural and tourism professionals in both New York and Singapore to compare and contrast trends, practices, and priorities in the development, implementation, and staffing of guided tour programs across industries and countries. The results of this survey were incorporated into the training sessions in Singapore, and part of the final product included an in-depth analysis of this data and recommendations for tourism stakeholders in Singapore to foster the development of small-scale, high-quality, interactive guided experiences.
During the five-day visit, Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours and Miriam Bader of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum conducted on-site observations of guided tours and met with staff at a number of different institutions to share best practices, including at the Changi Museum, Singapore Zoo, Chinatown Heritage Centre, Malay Heritage Centre, and with the Singapore Tourism Board’s tour licensing department.
Since 2013, Andrew Gustafson, Cindy VandenBosch, and Brian Hoffman have hosted professional delegations from the Singapore Tourism Board at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and on Food Cart Tours, complemented by meetings and workshops designed to share best practices in tour development and evaluation and staff recruitment and training.