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Stossel: Tour Guides Under Attack

Want to give people a tour? It might not be as easy as you think.

Want to earn money showing someone around? It's not as simple as it sounds. Many cities require a license in order to do that.

For Michelle Freenor, owner of "Savannah Belle Walking Tours" in Savannah, this meant a background check complete with blood and urine samples, a physical fitness test, plus months of studying for a college-level history exam. The city charges $100 every time the exam is taken. She passed on her first try, but many fail.

All of this, just to speak for a living.

Bill Durrence, Alderman of the 2nd District of Savannah, admits parts of the licensing requirements may have gone too far, but said: "the licensing and the testing, I thought was a good idea just to make sure people had the accurate information."

When Michelle was diagnosed with Lupus, she told the city she might not be able to pass the physical. A licensing bureaucrat told her "you'll have to find another occupation... if you don't like it then you can sue us."

So she did.

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, took her case for free. The Savannah bureaucrats backed down, but it doesn't happen easily, says Dick Carpenter. "There's discovery, depositions are taken... [it can take] months, often years."

But Savannah isn't the only city to create bottlenecks for those who want to give tours: Charleston (SC), New York (NY), Williamsburg (VA), St. Augustine (FL), and New Orleans (LA) all have tests.

Washington, D.C. used to, until the Institute for Justice fought them too. Watch John Stossel give his own segway tour in DC, and learn about yet another way that the government makes it harder for people to find jobs.

It is part three of our Bottleneckers series.

Produced by Naomi Brockwell. Edited by Joshua Swain.

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  • John C. Randolph||

    When Michelle was diagnosed with Lupus, she told the city she might not be able to pass the physical. A licensing bureaucrat told her "you'll have to find another occupation... if you don't like it then you can sue us."

    Can't she kneecap the bureaucrat under the ADA or something for that shit?

    -jcr

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I'm sure glad that government officials have everything so under control that they have spare time and money left over to micromanage tour guides.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Many tour guides are interpreters for groups of (ghasp) furriners! Texas has loads of regulations--with fines and imprisonment--to keep thim damn furriners from understanding the ballot and takin' "our" jobs!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Many tour guides are interpreters for groups of (ghasp) furriners!

    We have enough god damn furries here as it is. We don't need any foreign yiffing in our country, none of that kemomimi bullshit.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Stossel: Tour Guides Under Attack
    Want to give people a tour? It might not be as easy as you think.

    "Want to earn money showing someone around? It's not as simple as it sounds. Many cities require a license in order to do that."

    Well, yeah you need a license to be a tour guide.
    Otherwise the tour guide might showing tourists the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge and leaning tower of Pisa when he is New York City.
    This tour guide business is a lot more difficult than most people know.

  • King Lamoni||

    "The tour guide business is a lot more difficult than most people know."

    While I agree with this statement, you have downplayed your own argument by suggesting that someone who would show the Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge, and leaning tower of Pisa while in New York could run a successful tour guide business.

    Even with licensing, there are some awful tour guides and thankfully we have websites with reviews so we can weed them out and spend our money wisely.

  • Tionico||

    which sites would go much farther than the present licensing system to make tour guiding more effective and enjoyable... at less expense. Just think... ever gummit hooh hah dipping his snout into the public trough must get paid.... by the higher fees and costs to surmount the barriers to entry imposed by those selfsame gummit hooh hahs, the "inspected" tour guides are forced to pay

    As ever, gummit goes over the top to "fix" a "problem" of their own imagination, stiffing the buying public with the added costs, and their "fix" is never as good as a free market would bring.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    And there is also far too limited focus on the truest danger to tourists. Werewolves.

  • Anomalous||

    I thought that was only in London and Paris.

  • Radioactive||

    I hear they're rampant in Transylvania as well...

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Sounds like you fell for the mainstream narrative.

  • noparticularreason||

    I'm bitter that Stossel wasn't forced to wear a dorky bike helmet whilst (driving?) his Segway. There is no way to look remotely intelligent wearing one of those.

  • Dan S.||

    Some cities don't allow Segways to be used on their streets or sidewalks at all.

    But as for walking tours, as far as I can see there is nothing to stop someone from just tagging along without paying. After all, it would simply be walking on a public street, would it not?

  • Tionico||

    many of those same cities outlaw bicycles on the sidewalks.... which is almost never enforced. Typical dud on a trashy bike has no money. Nearly everyone with a Segway does.....

  • Hank Phillips||

    You haven't heard about the Two-Helmet Law?

  • Longtobefree||

    It's for the children, John.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The first gotcha question: Where is Aleppo?

  • Radioactive||

    near Thereleppo...

  • baileyshaw437||

    Yes I agree that there are some cities which allow people to do tourism but there are also some cities where license, medical fitness and history education is compulsory. BuyOnlineEssay

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