MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s Tourism Ministry put tour guides on public buses, the main form of transportation in the capital, to mark World Tourism Day, which is being celebrated on Sunday, giving residents and visitors alike a different way to look at Montevideo.
Professional tour guides regaled riders on Saturday with stories about the history of the capital and its different monuments, neighborhoods and buildings.
The project’s goal is to “get people who regularly ride the bus without looking out the windows to approach the ride like a tourist,” viewing what they are used to “with a different level of interest,” Mary Linich, one of the tour guides, told EFE.
The tour guides shared stories about iconic houses and places, such as the nearly 22-kilometer (13-mile) boulevard that runs around Montevideo’s beaches, Linich said.
“A general look at what a tourist can get to learn about,” Linich said, adding that Montevideo, home to about half of Uruguay’s 3.4 million people, is the main destination of most tourists.
Among the places pointed out by the tour guides was Independence Plaza, dominated by the monument to Jose Gervasio Artigas (1764-1850), Uruguay’s greatest national hero, who is remembered for his role in the River Plate Revolution of 1810.
“People really paid attention and later applauded, so it’s been a good experience,” Linich said, adding that she worked for four hours on five different routes.
The Montevideo city government and public transportation company Uruguay Cutcsa helped develop the project.