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New York City to Require All Tour Guides to be Licensed

February 3, 2004

New York City to Require All Tour Guides to be Licensed
February 3, 2004 – Effective immediately, out-of-town companies conducting paid tours within New York City must employ a tour guide licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.

By law, all new tour guides conducting tours within New York City must take an exam when applying for a license to test their knowledge of historic or public points of interest in and about the city. Applicants must take a written, multiple choice test in English at DCA’s main office.

Beginning in April, the DCA will list all licensed tour guides on its Web site – http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/home.html – giving special recognition to guides who pass the new licensing exam with a score of 120 or more.

"All visitors to New York City deserve an accurate and colorful tour," said DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra. "The law requires that out-of-town companies conducting tours within the city have to use a licensed guide who knows the lay of the land. This ensures that millions of tourists who visit each year will get both educational and fun tours and therefore will be more likely to come back."

According to the DCA, guides applying for a license for the first time must take the new test and pass with a score of 97 out of 150. Veteran tour guides – any guide who was licensed before May 17, 2003 – will no longer be required to take the new licensing exam because of their extensive experience and successful passage of a previous exam. However, any veteran guide who chooses to take the new exam and receives a score of 120 or higher will be included among those who receive special commendation.

DCA will enforce this requirement by responding to substantiated complaints only, using its subpoena powers where appropriate. Tour companies that do not hire a licensed guide in the city will be cited for aiding and abetting unlicensed activity, under the city’s license enforcement law.

NTA is working to find out more about this new requirement and will post additional information when it is received.

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