They have to know how to travel the land and its topography, and they have to know exactly where there is history. In addition to the two-year training program, guides must take an annual refresher course yearly. This assures that they can supply the latest information as it pertains to recent archaeological discoveries and or religious significances occurring in the holy land. Its also means that guides are well equipped to lead a pilgrimage along the most comfortable, efficient, and interesting routes – and in order to pass their licensing examinations, they must be bi-lingual at minimum.
Clergymen leading groups are often surprised that Israeli guides know more about the Bible and holy sites than they expected. Experience tells us that the insights they bring to a pilgrimage add to the group’s experience while supporting and reinforcing the efforts of the religious tour leader. Many pilgrims on a holyland tour are pleasantly surprised with the world class guides, and it’s important to note that guiding tours in Israel can only be done by guides certified by the Israeli government.
Many people asking to travel to Israel request private touring with a guide, while not everyone can afford the extra cost for a private guide, most pilgrims today tour Israel in Christian groups averaging 12 to 25 people. Not as common yet still seen are larger Christian groups with up to 50 and more pilgrims, with usually very large churches back home and or organizations- groups this size will always require up to two or more Israeli guides.