Jones Co. Tourism seeks interest in tour guides

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     For the past 14 years, since Bob Hatcher has worked as the Jones County Tourism Association (JCTA) director, he’s offered his expertise and history of Jones County to out-of-town tours.

   Tour buses (coach buses) bring visitors to Jones County on an annual basis. Prior to the pandemic, Hatcher said there used to be 25 to 35 tours a year. In 2021, there were nine.

   The role of the tour guide is to join the bus driver and visitors on the bus as they drive around to attractions throughout the county: Camp Courageous, Edinburgh Village, Grant Wood Art Gallery, the Anamosa Penitentiary Museum, National Motorcycle Museum, Grant Wood Park/Antioch School, and Stone City.

   “You can fill a whole day,” Hatcher said of the spots before and after lunch.

   Hatcher has already started booking some tours for 2023 and is in need of volunteers to serve as tour guides to help JCTA. A couple of volunteers have already expressed some interest; they’re in need of two to three more.

   Each guide is paid $5 per visitor on the bus, excluding the driver, as compensation of their time. Hatcher said there is typically 45 to 50 people on a bus.

   Some of the responsibilities of a tour guide include:

   • Must know Jones County fairly well

   • Ability to ride on the bus all day with visitors and follow a set schedule

   • Be available to be trained for a day or two with a current tour guide

   • Flexibility and available any day of the week/weekend

   • Write up a review of the tour for the Tourism director and board

   • Know what to do in case of emergency

   • Be willing to sell all of Jones County

   Hatcher said most tours take place in the summer and into the fall. Most are only day-trips; not multiple days.

   Once the bus arrives, a schedule for the day’s stops has already been put together.

   “The guide keeps the driver on time, tells him/her where to go because they’re not familiar with Jones County,” he said.

   Where the flexibility comes in, should the bus have to cancel or not arrive on time, the guide will need to reschedule. Or, if an attraction is closed unexpectedly, the guide needs to improvise and find something else for the group to do.

   “We talk about all of the things to do and see in Jones County, even those things the group won’t get to that day,” Hatcher added.

   There are also sites where tour buses cannot go or get into. Hatcher said that important information is needed to know as well.

   JCTA wants to have several guides on hand to be able to spread the tours around.

   Other than jumping on a tour bus to learn the ropes, Hatcher also urges perspective tour guides to read up on Jones County history.

   “It’s not rocket science; you need to be able to tell people about the county.”

   While there are several towns and cities in Jones County, Hatcher said it’s about focusing on the county as a whole, including the many small towns.

   “And let them know what we have to offer,” he said.

   JCTA provides the guide with fact sheets that spell out the basics such as number of parks located in the county, number of campgrounds, etc.

   Those who are interested in learning about Tourism tour guides, contact Hatcher at 319-462-4101 or


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