Vatican tours and turf wars

It's a jungle out there

Here's your machete? Not quite, or at least not yet. Which Vatican tour guide when in Rome? scratched the surface of the probably unsightly, absolutely ungodly side of Vatican tourism. This article cuts a little deeper.

Market forces drive every tour operator in Rome to St. Peter's Square and / or the Colosseum to sell guide services. Financial rewards are huge. Unassuming tour company bosses get very rich very quickly indeed.

We have been offering tours on St. Peter's Square for several years, and in that time, a great number of competing operators have taken our lead. The kind of people who represent them come from all walks of life, believe me, and competition to get tourists on tours is ferocious. It is not uncommon to see alcohol-fuelled aggression and random acts of violence break out between the bottom feeders of Vatican tourism. Anything goes in the Cauldron of Capitalism (St. Peter's Square) for those who hard sell tours, i.e. gathering tourists to fill groups which may or may not skip the line to enter the Vatican Museums. Every inch of ground in front of the Basilica is of extreme high value. Every tour operator maintains a gang of enforcers to protect it's patch and profit therefrom. Bling obligatory.

Every morning excluding Sundays, several thousand promoters are let loose on unsuspecting tourists between Ottaviano metro station and Castel Sant'Angelo. If you're lucky, you'll run into a kind soul who will introduce you to a licensed guide and add you to the next small group Vatican tour. This is our modus operandi.

In order to gather Spanish tourists for Spanish-language tours, we utilize the charm and artfulness of promoters from Central and South America to keep our Spanish tour guides busy and Spanish-speaking clients happy. In order to gather American, English, and other Europeans for our English-language tours, we utilize a broad mix of personable promoters from countries including Albania, Egypt, the Philippines, and Romania. A multicultural cornucopia, if you will. They exhibit great endeavour and exert considerable energy day in day out in high season, and every second day or so in low season, running back and forth between our premises by the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Square. They are the window into the world of When In Rome Tours offline, ergo of singular importance.

Our promoters and tour guides occupy a part of St. Peter's Square where they meet and greet tourists, introduce them to the Vatican City, and give them a free overview of Vatican history. Tourists who wish to join the next Vatican tour may do so via a short walk to our office for payment. The When In Rome Tours street team is highly visible, members wear trademark red jackets and carry company publicity. Over and out.

Published on October 20th, 2014
© When In Rome Tours, article provided by Cajes.

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