In France, there are people who welcome tourists into cities in a free manner, where said tourists do not need to pay for a guided visit around town, who are introduced to the local scene without needing to pay and without any restrictions nor commitments.

The closest English equivalent I could come up with was "greeter". But "greeter" for me has a more 'temporary' sense, that is to say that (normally) one doesn't 'greet' a person for several hours with a visit around town. "Volunteer tour guide" also comes to mind, but it just doesn't seem right...

Is there a good term to describe this kind of person?

  • "Welcome party" , "Reception Committee"
    – moonstar
    Apr 15 '14 at 16:57
  • Could either of those two phrases represent a single person though? The words "party" and "committee" both give me the idea of multiple persons. Apr 15 '14 at 16:59
  • They may initially give you the idea of multiple persons but both words are acceptable/legitimate when applied to 1-person teams.
    – moonstar
    Apr 15 '14 at 17:00
  • I think you've already nailed it with "volunteer tour guide". Prefixing volunteer to some role usually implies the person is not being paid (although it doesn't preclude them from receiving expenses etc).
    – user24964
    Apr 15 '14 at 17:13
  • Why not welcome guide?
    – bib
    Apr 15 '14 at 17:28

In France, we call volunteer tour guides "guides bénévoles" i.e. "benevolent tour guides."

Consider "nonprofit tour guides" and "not-for-profit tour guides" as possible alternatives.


You could just say that a "Complimentary Guided Tour" is available

  • "Complimentary tour" emphasizes that the tourist doesn't pay, not that the guide is unpaid.
    – ChrisW
    Apr 15 '14 at 17:02
  • Is the guide unpaid?
    – Oldcat
    Apr 15 '14 at 17:04
  • 1
    Yes, "volunteer" in the OP implies that the guide is not someone who is paid/employed to do that. And the question is the OP was trying to name the type of guide, not the type of tour.
    – ChrisW
    Apr 15 '14 at 17:10
  • 2
    I like this one but would change the word arrangement to Complimentary Tour Guide. The phrase tour guide doesn't infer payment, it is just something that someone does. Apr 15 '14 at 17:25

There's docent but that's more usually used for museums than towns.

I suggest "host".

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