1. Why are Bible Tours in some countries like North America and Europe"free" (or by suggested donation) whereas in other countries like Italy, France or Greece a fixed price is requested?
Taxes and government regulations are different in each country.
In Italy we must pay 40% (or more) tax on all our earnings: whether from in-person or virtual tours!
Moreover in Italy, France or Greece it is illegal to work as tour guide without holding a valid government license, which in most cases requires a university degree. In countries with a rich archaeological history, being a licensed tour guide requires endless training and costant upgrading.
In Italy, it is illegal to guide a group on the street or inside an historical site without a license and/or by contribution only (no fixed price). If city police or a tourism inspector stops us, a heavy fine will be imposed by law. This is why the few brothers/sisters that lead our tours are licensed tour guides! This is their employment and not a hobby.
2. Why don't you make your tours free for brothers in special service, commuters and regular pioneers?
We are unable to give all pioneers a discount. Only for the virtual we decided to make an exception for those who took a ' vow of poverty' and who live on the small allowance received from the organization. However, regular pioneers and commuters like us, do work and earn money and pay taxes. As fellow pioneers who need to support our own families, we deeply appreciate all their efforts and dedication!
Also for the in-person tours, for those who are in special full time service - according with the group size - we always try to do our best, sometimes giving to them a discount.
Our sincere wish is that all brothers and sisters from abroad can join us on our tours even though we understand that in some situations, given the exchange rate, the tour price can be significant.
(However in case of any dire economic discomfort, please let us know at the time of booking and we will evaluate each request regardless of your privileges in the congregation)
In general, anyone who decides to take a vacation abroad can let themselves be guided by the principle found in Luke 14:28
3. By offering these tours, do you not believe that you are using the brotherhood for commercial purposes?
Not at all! We were all Licensed Tour Guides long before we started doing Bible Tours for our brothers and sisters. We did not improvise ourselves as Tour Guides, for example after having received training due to an international convention. In Italy it would not be possible. We are all registered in the National Register of the Tourism as professional workers, and we pay all taxes from this full time job. When we are not busy with Bible Tours, we are happy to offer our services to all customer. That's why we are easily fully booked!
We are not exclusive guides for Jehovah's Witnesses. In Italy this would be considered a discriminatory.
However on this website and on our social pages linked here, you will find only those tours that we have prepared specifically for our brothers and sisters. On our personal social media pages you will see us working with not only jw tourists, but also with people from all over the world. We have been tour guides for many years.
Everyone has the option to buy or to choose to refrain from it.
4. With your Vatican Museum Tour, are you not pushing the brothers to visit Babylon the Great, and giving money to the Vatican?
Not at all! We are sorrry to disappoint you but from the moment you set foot in Italy, and particularly in Rome, you are already funding the Vatican. An important part of the businesses, hotels and B&Bs in the country belong to them!
In addition, the proceeds of the Museum tickets are largely used for the maintenance, restoration and caretaking of the precious works of art housed in the Vatican Museums.
Furthermore, we're not forcing anyone to purchase anything. It is one of the 4 tours we offer, and everyone, based on their own conscienses, can decide wheter to ask for this tour or not. I would be like accusing the wise slave of encouraging us to visit St.Peter's Basilica in the Vatican just for having written the article G 75 1/8 pg. 21 "An interesting tour in the Vatican".
And is just one of many articles dedicated to this place!
It is evident that the decision to visit a church for tourist purposes, rather than a museum run by the church..or even just attending - without participating - to a funeral and/or wedding inside a church is a personal decision and no one should impose their own choices on others (Gl 6:5, Rm 14:3,10).
This has been perfectly explained in many recent articles and broadcastings.
May everyone act according to their own personal conscience without judging those who feel differently!
5. By utilizing the term "JW", are you not violating the copyright laws of the organizations?
Not at all! First of all, we consulted with brothers at Bethel before choosing our name!
Second, we remind you that only the term "JW.ORG" and its logo of the watchtower with the blue background are protected by copyright laws, and not the letters of the alphabet j, w!
No one can copyright letters of the alphabet. There is even a hotel chain that uses the same 2 letters and does not constitute a copyright infringement - jw-marriott.marriott.com
However when jw.org souvenirs and gadgets with background photos/videos of Caleb and Sofia and the logo "jw.org" are handed out at assemblies.. and/or any other material from the website is shared on social media (even images/videos of publications that have been included in several virtual tours during the pandemic "for a fair use) these all constitute copyright infringements!
6. Does the use of flags on our website/social medias promote nationalism?
If that would be the case then also the images found in the society's site where the Russian and Ukrainian patriarchs speak, with the corresponding flag below to indicate the language used, would have to be classified as nationalism
(Phil 4:5, Ecc 7:16)
7. By having sisters among your leaders, aren't you breaking the principle of 1 Cr 14:33,34 which states that women should not teach?
Please remember that:
1. Sisters are often used as visitor guides even at Bethels!
2. Our tours are not performed from the podium of a Kingdon Hall and they certainly don't compensate/substitute the function of our meetings!
Hence, the sisters who in many countries around the world conduct Bible tours (except in those few undeveloped countries where civil rights do not exist) are simply exercising their right to practice a profession. However, if any brothers feel uncomfortable having a sister as a tour guide, please do not book "In the footsteps of Paul" tour in Italian and/or Spanish.
Even if we do not share this point of view, we respect everyone's conscienses
Thank you again for putting yourselves in our shoes for a short while!
With love and respect
Your brothers of jw-rometours