This is a continuation of a feature we started earlier this year about ‘People Around the Port’.
We wanted to highlight the many partner companies and stakeholders who contribute to a successful port in cruise and cargo.
It is easy to assume that everyone who works here is a Port Saint John employee – but that’s not true. A great number of the people who work on the water and on the wharves are employed by partner companies who provide essential services.
Today we’re featuring Kelly Anne Loughery, who is one of 55 tour guides working for Port Saint John partner company Aquila Tours. In the past few years, Kelly Anne has been twice chosen as Hospitality Saint John ‘Tour Guide of the Year’ from ballots completed by cruise guests. We asked her about the kind of work she does, and how she started working as a guide.
Q: WHAT IMPRESSION DO YOU MOST WANT TO LEAVE WITH CRUISE VISITORS?
A: I want to leave them thinking that Saint John and surrounding areas have it all; history, architecture, local products, unique culture, and nature which of course includes our fabulous Bay of Fundy. I want them to go home and tell their friends, ‘we visited the most fantastic place in Canada; I can’t wait to go back!’
Q: WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING QUESTIONS YOU’VE RECIEVED FROM CRUISE VISITORS?
A: People are really interested in the day to day living of the places they visit so I always like those kinds of questions and I try to address many of them before they are even asked. Visitors from the southern US are always asking questions about our winters and everyone is fascinated by our Bay of Fundy tides. I am a dual citizen so I get a lot of questions about the differences between Canada and US, especially our medical system.
Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
A: I absolutely LOVE being part of the Aquila team! I am so proud to be a part of a local company that has been giving back to the community for well over 30 years now. Melanie, Danielle, and the rest of the management team are so incredibly supportive of everyone and as a result it is a pleasure to be part of the Aquila family. On a more basic level, I love wearing my Loyalist costume, sounds corny, but I do. It helps me get in the proper frame of mind and the guests love the costumes, it adds to their local experience. I can walk anywhere uptown and people know that I’m a tour guide.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR MOS T CHALLENGING DAY BEING A TOUR GUIDE?
A: Not one particular day stands out in my mind, but I would have to say the most challenging days are when I have a bus load of stone-faced people. If my guests are interested and engaged then everything just comes naturally and the day just flies by, if not it can be a long, very tiring day.
Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR AQUILA TOURS?
A: I started in 2010. New Aquila guides spend the summer season training and preparing for the busy fall season, so I gave my first tour in September of 2010.
Q: WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO BECOME A TOUR GUIDE?
A: I was a history major and I love to do research so guiding is sort of an outlet for that side of me. I love our history here in the Saint John area and I often found myself offering suggestions to tourists on the street who needed help, so after years of friends saying “you should really be a tour guide”… I took the plunge.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS INTERESTED IN BEING A GUIDE?
A: Study, study, study, and keep good records. I am constantly adjusting and enhancing information that I use. Above all, I would say keep it real. We have a wealth of great history and fascinating real stories, there is no reason to over embellish or tell fake stories. If you have a passion for where you live and want to share it, that will come thru to your guests with very little effort.
Q: WHAT KEEPS YOU BUSY OUTSIDE OF CRUISE SEASON?
A: I love the quiet solitude of winter; I call it the “guilt free season”. I write and do research; read and watch a lot of films. I do a lot of gardening spring & summer and I am passionate about photography year round. For many years I was involved in lighthouse preservation and I still take an interest in them. I usually take one major trip a year and I love short road trips (day trips or overnight) to explore our region.
To learn more about careers at Aquila Tours visit their website. Not only do they have 55 tour guides but in season their entire cruise team numbers 70 people!
Editors’ Note: As this busy fall unfolds, Kelly Anne is sure to be one of the many local guides sharing her love of Saint John and the Bay of Fundy with cruise guests. Next time you see a motor coach driving by it just may be Kelly Anne on board. Follow the cruise season as it unfolds on the Cruise Saint John Facebook page and Port Saint John Twitter account @PortSaintJohn.