Though guides are one of the key front-line players in the tourism industry, conceptual confusion has long been a source of difficulty in the study and it is essentially contested concept and scholars made a notable effort to address this problem. Through their knowledge and interpretation, they have the ability to transform the tourists’ visit into an experience and knowledge level. This paper was intended to uncover tour guiding quality assurance mechanisms, its challenges and respective tourist satisfactions with special reference to southern regions of Ethiopia. The findings were disclosed using descriptive statistical tools such as frequency, mean, standard deviation, and t-test where appropriate. Further, focus group discussion, key informant interview, and observation were used. The findings of the study have portrayed that the practice of licensing, certification, awards of excellence and accreditation is poor and practically full of inconsistency. The descriptive analysis suggests that lack of adequate practical training and education, involvement of nonprofessionals, and absence of strong monitoring practice are found to be basic problems for the guides. Moreover, seasonality, money oriented practice, and involvement of non-professionals are the chronic challenges. Concurrent with it, evaluation of tourist satisfaction by the guides’ service found to be very poor. Moreover, the study also portraits that networking, travel needs, autonomy, job quality, personal satisfaction, and future growth anticipation of the sector are the top motivational factors to join the profession as a local guide. It is also found that customer care, interpretive approach to communication, interpretation and storytelling are found as the top skill gaps of the tour guides. The main conclusions were that guides need to be well trained; certified and other regulatory and monitoring mechanism has to be adopted regularly.