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'Fraid not - TA is owned, like booking sites such as Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Venere.com and Hotwire.com, and a host of others, by Expedia Inc.
To my mind, it's very simple - economics prevent all but the most cursory moderation of the dozens of Forums offered for Italy alone, and no regard at all is given to the truth or accuracy of what's posted - but even the tiniest number of people clicking on "Report inappropriate content" will trigger the automatic removal of any message.
I couldn't possibly comment further, other than to observe that the site's owners may eventually find that TA loses out to somewhere with more reliable content?
The reason the thread might have been pulled was because as a business owner you are not allowed to make critical comments about a competitor. I know they were talking about illegal guides and none were mentioned by name but it might have been enough for TA to pull the topic.
We hired a guide through a reputable agency, but we found out that the guide they sent to us did not have a license. He told us that there is an exception to the general rule if the guide is an archeologist or student in roman classics. We don't know if we were given a story, but the guide seemed to know what he was doing. Any thoughts?
FOUND THE POST! When in Rome follow the rules as the Romans do!
Rome: roman guides: ask them their license!!
On behalf of UGL (unione italiana lavoratori –italian union of licensed guides) and on Provincia di Roma – Rome County authority we would like to inform all Tripadvisor visitors visiting Rome about:
Tourist information on RomeTour Guides and why you should always make sure that you have booked a tour led by a fully qualified and licensed rome Tour Guide:
Not all companies on the internet use licensed tour guides and in Italy it's illegal for a non-licensed tour guide to conduct guided tours anywhere in Italy
Roman Tour roman Tour Guides
Firstly, in the overwhelming majority of cases Rome Tour Guides are either native or long-term residents of the city in which they conduct tours. So when you tour an Italian City with a licensed Italian Tour Guide you will enjoy an insiders view of the city you are touring. In otherwords, you will have someone accompanying you that knows all the answers to all the questions that you might want to ask, as well as having the ability to entertain all members of your family.
Secondly, all the rome Tour Guides that work for different company possess backgrounds in Art & History, and have dedicated their lives to the profession of guiding tourists around their own particular city. This rule applies for the overwhelming majority of Italian Tour Guides and so these guides have the ability to conduct lecture style, in-depth tours for those with specific interests in different periods of Art & History, as well as providing informative, educating and entertaining guided tours
Thirdly, it's actually illegal to take a tour with a non-licensed tour guide in Italy . And in recent months the local police, and comminities have been cracking down on illegal guides. They have been doing this to obviously protect the licensed tour guides from illegal competition, but also to protect tourists visiting their cities.
Illegal guides in Italy are quite often foreign students or other non-licensed pseudo-guides who literally guide tours having only read a script based on the tour that they are conducting. What does that mean? It means that a tour with an illegal guide is often like taking an audio-guided tour. If you ask a question about something not in the script the guide will know as much as you do.
Book your tours of rome with companies that utilize Licensed Expert roman roman Guides and enjoy an authentic and informative tour of rome
Well, that is a pretty obvious bit of self-interested advice, attempting to stamp out competition. If the licensed guides were really providing good service, there would be no market for other guides.
It's perhaps worth considering how one's own country would treat a bunch of Ruritanians abusing their "thou shalt not work" tourist visas as guides - or waiters, barmen etc for that matter - serving holidaymaking Ruritanians?
There has not been anything so far in this thread to indicate that any unlicensed guides are not entitled to live and work in Italy. That is a different issue.
In the above those with less selective vision will have seen....."Illegal guides in Italy are quite often foreign students"
And, for anyone from (or holding only a passport issued by) a country outside of EFTA and/or the EEA, the entitlement to work in Italy is not covered by a Study Visa - for that they must instead obtain the appropriate Work Visa or Permit to Work.
Those who've appIied for such a document will appreciate how improbable it would be for either to be issued to someone whose profession was "unqualified guide" - but without one however any foreign student or visitor working would be contravening the terms of the visa that covered their stay in the country.
One reason that this exchange and the previous - now blocked - one are taking place in these Forums at all is the great propensity of North American and Antipodean visitors to overlook the licenced guides in favour of those from their own nation - in ignorance, or without regard, of their legal status?
When we were last in Rome, we hired an Italian guide.
But I think it is understandable that English-speakers might prefer to hire someone who is known to be a good speaker of English. In my time, I have had Italian guides who just could not speak intelligible English.