General principles of performance and cooperation

Here are some general suggestions for cooperation of tour-guides and guests. This is not a must to all tour-guides, every tour-guide has her/his own way for cooperation with clients. Please ask your tour-guide for details. 

1. General principles

Tartu Guide Union unites professional tour guides who have successfully passed the required qualification and/or requalification exam organised by Tartu City Government, Foundation Tartumaa Tourism, representatives of the Foundation South Estonia Tourism, private tourism companies etc.

The requalification is required from each tour guide every one, three or five years, depending on the tour-guides exam results. The orange/blue official Tartu guide chest sign, by which you can recognise our tour-guides is given to tour-guides who have successfully passed the licensing exam. 

Tour-guides are licensed and accredited based on their region of activity. Currently, Tartu certifies tour guides in two regions:

a) Tartu city

b) Tartu county

The complete list of all officially accredited tour guides can be found at

The complete list of officially accredited tour guides who belong to Tartu Guide Union can be found at

2. How to choose your tour-guide

Please choose a tour-guide speaking your language and contact them directly. You find all data at:

3. Guidelines for cooperation

For flexible cooperation with our clients, please remember that some general principles of good cooperation include the following:

3.1. Booking and planning

The tour guide is your cooperation partner and advisor. Please agree the times and group size well in advance of ( as soon as possible (=asap), but preferably, if possible,  at least 2 weeks earlier than) the tour.

• Please plan and book your tour well in advance of the trip, stating clearly the number of participants, starting time and place, as well as possible special needs and interests.

• You can contact the tour-guides by phone or by e-mail. In case of booking by phone, we kindly ask you (especially and definitely companies arranging tours) to confirm the order by e-mail by providing your contact data as well as details concerning the order ( date and time, duration, number of people); the data for invoice.

• Tours booked and confirmed as soon as possible; but tours that have been booked earlier than three weeks before the tour must be reconfirmed by e-mail around 7-10 days before the tour.

• The normal group size for quality tours is no more than 20 (absolute maximum 22) people.

For bigger groups we advise you to book two tour-guides in order to guarantee maximum quality and communication between the guide and group-members (your questions, joint discussions, etc.).

If the group size has grown, the tour-guide has the right for additional remuneration (double size = double fee!).

• Please notify the tour-guide in advance in case there are special needs clients, or special wishes in the group for the maximum comfort of the clients and the group.

We do not serve clients who have consumed alcohol, behave rudely, or inconsiderately.

On the possible occurrence of such, the tour-guides have the right to stop work immediately with 100% retention of their fees  + 100% of the fees in damages.

It is not allowed to record the tour in video, voice or any other way, unless agreed in written with the tour-guide and paid for at least two weeks before the tour.

The tour guide has the right to refuse recording (copyright, recording “stage fright”, disturbing the work, etc.).

• Any materials recorded, photographed etc. during the tour involving the tour guide, may only be used if you have the written permission by the guide.

• In the case of recording (which has to be explicitly agreed on by the tour-guide), extra fees apply (usually the minimum is the double of the full tour´s price). 

3.2. Possible changes and cancelling

It is normal that in the case of working with people, and when travelling, things may change. However, please understand that for your tour-guide, the agreed schedules and budget may be essential. Therefore, please understand that:

The tour guide is entitled to full remuneration if the tour is not cancelled earlier than 24 hours before the agreed time of the tour.

NB! IF YOUR GROUP IS LATE, please inform the tour-guide in time and as soon as possible.

Your agreed price concerns the TIME agreed (e.g. 10:00-12:00).

• The TIME  has to be considered for the whole time period the tour-guide is with you.

•  Tour-guides schedules are often fully booked, and a delay may mean that the tour-guide is late for another guided tour.

Therefore, groups must keep within the originally planned time limits even if late (e.g. if you have booked a guide 10:00-12:00, and arrive 10:40 you can (after reporting in time) expect your guide to be with you till 12:00, but not longer.

• If you wish to book the guide for longer, you have to ask for agreement/ possibility for this and pay extra for the additional time spent.

• The tour-guide will wait for the group in the appointed place at the appointed time for 10 minutes. In case the tour-guide has not been notified of the group being late, the guide has the right to leaveThe full fee will be due for the group/person who made the order.

3.3. During the walk/trip

• Please observe that unless stated otherwise, it is not the local guide, but your courier-guide/group leader, who is responsible for your meals, tickets, schedule, hotel bookings, and personal support.

• The group walks together with the guide. It is the personal right of people who want to stay behind a few meters to take photos of sights to do it. It is not the tour-guides task to force them to listen. It is not acceptable for group-members to ask the tour-guide to do so.

• The tour-leader travelling together with the group is responsible for group dynamics, tending to the individual wishes of the group members etc.

•  The tour-leader travelling with the group is the person who has your hotel/restaurant/bus bookings coordination dates, times and responsibility.

People with serious walking problems are most welcome to discuss this with the tour-guide and find the best solution before the tour.

• Please consult with your group and group leader first. The same concerns all other special needs and wishes. It is our pleasure to help and support you, please let us know of your wishes and needs before the tour.

3.5. On-line work and e-mailing, advice on the phone; preparing for the tour in advance

It is fully understandable that you wish to have some additional guidance and information about your destination.
In addition to the detailed general information about the destination, attractions and events that you find on the Internet (cf.;
Events: etc. )
you can of course ask the tour guides for additional advice and information. But please keep it responsible and limited in time and effort you incur on the tour-guide.
For more profound time taken, special fees apply.

Thus, please remember that:
• E-mailing should be kept efficient and effective, friendly and professional.

• Please respect that giving advice and answering questions is work too for tour-guides.

•  The tour guides are usually most happy to help, but please observe that all the hours dedicated to your questions and groups are work-hours even if “taken out” online.

(I.e. if you book a tour for 1 hr, but if you send an e-mail per week (or several e-mails a day!) during several months prior to the tour, asking profound questions about itinerary, timing, restaurants, cultural objects, restaurants, bookings, bus trips, etc. , you could understand that you have been keeping the person busy for hours and hours! Usually, the tour-guides have to communicate in parallel with tens of orders).

• Additional fees for cultural advice and tour arrangement apply.

• Please agree in advance if your tour-guide is ready to offer this service, and what the price for this is.

3.6. Fees

• The minimum fee corresponds to 2 hrs work.

• Work time is calculated in full hours, to the longer (e.g. 10:00-12:45 =  3hrs).

•  Our tour-guides can provide you with an official invoice, please send all details in written before the tour when you make the agreement.

• Taxes affects the guide fees! Please understand that from the sum on your invoice the guides typically pay around 54% (income + social tax) in tax. 

• The time for the tour-guide getting to the starting point of the tour (if not in Tartu city centre) and from it is counted as full working time.

• The whole time period spent with the group is counted as full working time (orders like: “sit with us in a café for 2 hrs and sum up all the country´s history and current economic developments, then let´s have a tour for 30 min” mean that work has been done for 2 hrs 30 min.).

• The price of the bus/ train  ticket  for getting to the starting point/ home from end point of the tour (or gasoline+ parking if guide´s personal car is used) is paid by the client.

• Waiting time for the tour to begin, or waiting time for the bus/train to arrive is calculated as regular working time for the tour guide and paid by the client.

• Additional fees for cultural advice and tour arrangement apply.

3.7. Cooperation with drivers and bus drivers

• The bus driver is responsible for knowing the route to the main destinations, parking lot, and in case of guided tours in city by bus – how to drive along the route of the tour.

• When coming to town/hotel with your group, prepare the day before taking the few minutes online for finding out how to get to your destination.

• Please use maps or Googlemaps directions.

• Please use maps or Googlemaps directions also to find the main parking places (e.g. on Vabaduse puiestee, just close to the town-hall square & supermarket). Think it through before the trip. Agree the place with your travel bureau.

• On Tartu home page ( there is also on-line information on major events and traffic changes (due to marathons, rallies, road repairs, etc.).

3.8. Invoices and other documents

The tour-guides provide clients with invoices formulated in accordance with the laws in Estonia. Companies with special (or additional) requirements are kindly requested to inform the service-provider before the assignement, and an agreement on the procedures must be reached before the assignment.

Welcome to Tartu and we are looking forward to a great cooperation with you!