If you are looking to hire a GANYC Guide, please visit our Find a Guide page.
For current members, please visit the membership renewal page.
They are generally held on the first Wednesday of each month, from 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm, at various sites of interest throughout the five boroughs. Meetings generally have a guest speaker covering a topic of interest to NYC tour guides or NYC in general. Past speakers have been authors, activists, academics and historians.
If you are an organization or tour operator, you may be interested in our industry partner program.
Members adhere to the GANYC Constitution, Bylaws, Code of Ethics and professional standards and have exclusive access to a network of active industry professionals, industry-leading professional development conferences (including national and international events), classes, workshops, updates, certification, FAM tours, site visits and optional general liability insurance, in addition to preview visits, monthly membership meetings and regular opportunities for social and professional networking. Tour operators regularly browse our public member profiles and look first to our membership when hiring professional tour guides in NYC.
Since 1974, we have been the professional association of tour guides in New York City (one of the oldest, largest and most active such organizations in the USA). With almost 400 members, if you know a tour guide in NYC, chances are they are or know a GANYC Guide. We're affiliated with the National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (NFTGA; nearby member associations are in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago) and World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) and our members have access to respective networking and other benefits from both of these organizations. Our members and industry partners run the gamut of the tourism industry and are tour guides and directors, tour operators, managers, freelancers, employees and everything in between. Some are full-time, others are part-time, with a variety of roles, including step-on guides, tour managers, walking tour guides, double decker bus guides, site ambassadors, working locally and over the road. For some this is a first job, others a second job, side job or retirement job. Collectively we are professional tour guides who advocate for ourselves and the vital role of our work in our industry.
Requirements for Membership
All members must have a current NYC Sightseeing Guide License to apply and to maintain membership, in addition to paying annual dues and adhering to GANYC's Code of Ethics. After submitting an application and meeting with our board, approved applicants become provisional members. After a minimum one year of membership, provisional members can request full membership. To qualify for full membership, provisional members must attend a minimum of four monthly GANYC meetings and provide a letter of recommendation from two current full members. Provisional members are granted all the rights of full members, with the exception of non-Awards voting and board member elections (voting and running for office).
First year's regular dues are $150 ($125 annual dues + $25 one-time new member initiation fee) and payable upon membership approval. If applying From July 1 - October 31, the first year's dues are discounted to $87.50 ($62.50 first year's discounted annual dues + $25 one-time new member initiation fee). From November 1 - December 31, regular dues cover the current and following year.
How do I become a New York City tour guide?
New York City requires licensing for tour guides. A guide is "any person who engages in the business of guiding or directing people to any place or point of public interest or who, in connection with any sightseeing trip or tour, describes, explains or lectures concerning any place or point of public interest to any person within the city or obtains the patronage of any person for such trip" (NYC Admin Code). NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is responsible for issuing the tour guide license ("Sightseeing Guide License") and currently requires all applicants to be at least 18 years old, pay a fee and pass a computer-based multiple-choice examination in person in Manhattan. All licenses must be renewed every 2 years and have the same validity, expiring on March 31 of even years, regardless of when the license was issued. More information can be found on the DCA website.
How do I prepare for the New York City tour guide license exam?
Attend our monthly membership meetings and meet GANYC Guides! Also, read and take tours! A NYC tour guide (and former GANYC Guide, since retired) wrote the current exam in 2003 with the purpose of confirming knowledge of local landmarks, history and points of interest of the city. The DCA website contains a suggested study guide and, for those needing additional assistance, GANYC Guides and other organizations do offer exam study courses (many guides have passed the exam studying on their own).
Of course, passing the exam is just the first step in leading tours in this exciting, continual learning process that is our profession! It is helpful and important to take guided tours. Tours are offered by GANYC Guides and other NYC tour guides every day throughout NYC at a variety of price points. These tours will provide you with information and allow you to see a professional in action. You’ll get to see how different tour guides work and see the things you’d like to focus on for your own future guided tours. Knowledge of NYC history is just one facet of being a tour guide. Can you move a group through the city on all of its various modes of transportation? Can you tell a story and keep a group’s interest? Can you quickly modify your previously, carefully prepared plans as the city throws its inevitable roadblocks at you? That’s just a sampling of the complexities and joys of being a NYC tour guide. GANYC continues to offer a variety of learning opportunities for our members through our colleague-led FAM tours and other professional development opportunities.
If you have further questions, please contact the Membership Committee via email: email@example.com or see us at the Membership Desk at our next monthly membership meeting.
We look forward to meeting you soon!