Are Salzburg guides more competent than others or more criminal?


Salzburg tour guides are not pleasant. Every time I go to Salzburg with my guests, I think I have to drown in fear. Here are some background facts about my nightmare.

I tried to write about it for four years and every time I had my next bad experience in this beautiful city, it made me think, “This is going to get better.” But the truth is that here is a social problem that many tend to hide.

Salzburg guides, as well as those in charge of other European cities, have decided to establish a monopoly on tour guides in their city. As an example I mention Rome, Florence or Vienna. Such monopolies have been known in Europe for many years. Monopolies are nothing new. The church also has a monopoly. She claims to have the only true God. The same goes for all monopolists, claiming to have “the best of the best” and turn a blind eye to the performance of their competitors and are stuck in their evolution.

Monopoly and quality?

In a monopoly, quality is not necessary. Market freedom and competition lead to better quality through the creative process needed to reach and satisfy customers. Monopolists only control market prices. The same thing happens in Salzburg, it’s not really about the customer, it’s about scaring the tour guides from other areas because they think that the tour guides and the foreign tour guides are disputing their business. The added value that these provide, so that more guests visit the city, is ignored, which harms many merchants and hoteliers.

To be able to bring guests from Munich to the city of Salzburg, I work about three months a year to get all the necessary documents for my license. I need a license to take guests across a border into Europe. The WKS (Salzburg Chamber of Commerce) needs many months to process permits. To be fair, they write that you can take your guests to Salzburg after applying for a license on their Internet platform.

Many may think that getting permission to bring guests to our neighboring country is only formal, but far from it, it is also about where taxes are paid.

The different types of guided tours in Salzburg

If you book an official guide to Salzburg, you will be able to tell the story and give you the date, names and historical facts. This is an official tour. People like me, from the outside, offer Orientation visits activated. During the trip to Salzburg we will inform you of the same historical facts. If the guest wishes, we will also give the date and name. Once in the city, we take guests on a short walk to a coordinated destination in the Old Town and usually combine the information we give you with a map of the city. We usually pick up the guests within three hours and drive them back home.

Each foreign city guide or tour guide knows their group’s visitors and offers something accordingly. For example, I offer a bit of entertainment through singing, a bit of humor through my historical lectures, or just give tips for shopping while traveling to Salzburg.

But do you really want to take a history class during your vacation?

I have my doubts.

Attacks on tourists

No kidding! Yes it can happen. Residents of the city of Salzburg, individually or in groups, are allowed to insult or ridicule people at random. I was often forced to apologize to my guests for the behavior of these people. But as I see it, being rude is not a crime.

While visiting Salzburg, you can experience rude waiters, rude bus drivers, and rude citizens. This damages the good reputation of the city and gives a wrong image of the inhabitants, to whom I am very grateful. Many shops try to show customers that they are welcome with the best service and also courtesy. Some shopkeepers are expressly moving away from the tourism monopoly, but they fear the consequences, as I have been told several times.

I finally went in to order a drink at the bar. However, no one worked in the bar either. I approached a waitress at the restaurant to ask if she should order a drink. She said, “Let’s close in a moment.” I asked, “Can I order a glass of wine?” No kidding, he looked me straight in the eye and said no, straight away.

A rating of JDM101 on TripAdvisor

Many guests say they feel cheated by this city. Especially when you go there waiting to experience the atmosphere of a funny Julie Andrews, singing and dancing with seven children around fountains, and living a nightmare in which an official guide from Salzburg bites the guide for no reason.

The locals in Salzburg were the rudest compared to all the places we visited.

Patricia S. for TripAdvisor

Mafia behavior without consequences

Aside from the monopoly position and public struggles with Salzburg tour guides, the lack of courtesy of Salzburg guides makes it difficult for me to advertise Salzburg to guests. I made multiple collaboration offers, in writing, orally, over the phone, or in person. The answer was always the same “No, we do not collaborate.

When tour guides in Salzburg see me or someone else with a group of guests, they loudly evoke terrible accusations such as “illegal workers,” “thieves from abroad,” or even “shut up.” as two great gentlemen in front of the Salzburg Cathedral in 2018 called.

Homophobic insults are not uncommon in this city, as confirmed by Are there European laws against verbal attacks, but are they barely effective when the police refuse to work?

After my first experience with Salzburg guides, the second after the homophobic insult, I went to a police station and asked for help.

They reviewed me and my papers as if I were the culprit and not the victim. Of my three hours of free time in the city, I spent two at the police station without results. It was a clear refusal to work. The next time I experienced this again, the police simply called the Salzburger Guides and reported that I had all my papers in order, but the incident was not transmitted to the judicial authorities.

I went to the Rudolfsplatz court and asked him to file a complaint, but he also turned me down because they were not responsible and sent me back to the police.

Salzburg does everything possible to avoid bad press reports. No newspaper in the region has ever reported problems between Salzburg and foreign tour guides. I alone on my network know more than twenty tour guides who have experienced aggression on their own wheels.

Recently a tourist asked me on bus number 6 on a trip from the train station to the city: “Do you know how to get to Mozart’s birthplace?”

Since I’m always on guard, I kindly showed him the location on the map and offered to follow my group, as we would pass near this address. No money offers, just a favor for someone who needs it, so I saw my position as an assistant. Suddenly, one of Salzburg’s tour guides jumped out of his seat into the bus, verbally assaulted me, and accused me of being a “foreign illegal worker.” He shouted several times that I don’t pay taxes (but I had a bag that was definitely Amazon. Amazon, we all know they don’t really pay taxes). The whole discussion went to the lowest level and the guest was stunned and saw the action. He didn’t care about the city visitor and refused to give me his name for my report. He must have known that he was behaving illegally.

Three years ago, the president of the Salzburg Guides offered me to join his association after attending one of its seminars at a cost of 2,000 euros. I saw this as an extortion for protection money and I felt like a swallow working for a wedding.

Is it worth visiting Salzburg?

Yes, I love this city and its past that connects it with Bavaria. But I disapprove of the attitude of Salzburg guides and some city citizens towards foreign guides and guests.

However, enjoy the city and when you come across one of those rude Salzburg guides, just say “Julie, Julie, Julie” three times and dream of the sound of Sound of Music.

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