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Working as a Travel Counsellor [NOC 6521]

Job Description

Travel counsellors arrange trips for travellers and provide them with travel advice and information.

As a travel counsellor you perform the following duties:

  • give clients information about travel options and tour packages
  • make bookings and reservations
  • prepare tickets and receive payment
  • investigate and promote particular destinations, tour packages and other travel services

Industry Overview

The job market for travel counsellors is very competitive. You will be more successful finding work if you are fluent in several languages, particularly Asian languages. Computer skills are also an asset.

Employment in this field is dependent on economic conditions, so the number of openings is likely to vary from year to year.

The majority of BC travel counsellors are employed in Metro Vancouver.

Job Outlook in BC

Travel Counsellors (NOC 6521)

job outlook for travel counsellors (NOC 6521)

Chart from WorkBC

Employment Outlook for BC

The Employment Outlook for BC provides job openings projections for travel counsellors within BC regions:

Region 2010 Estimated Employment 2015 Estimated Employment Avg Annual % Change, 5 years,
2010 to 2015
Vancouver Island / Coast
520 530 0.3%
Lower Mainland/Southwest 3,930 4,390 2.3%
Thompson-Okanagan 250 360 8.6%
Kootenay 320 330 0.3%
Cariboo 80 100 4.8%
North Coast & Nechako 30 50 7.8%
Northeast 20 50 22.7%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

You can learn more about working as a travel counsellor in BC from these sources:

Types of Employers

Travel counsellors work for a variety of businesses including:

  • travel agencies
  • tour wholesalers
  • airlines and other transportation companies
  • tourism organizations
  • hotel chains
  • corporate offices that have enough business travel to need their own booking divisions

You may also be self-employed.

Salary

The average annual salary for travel counsellors in BC is between $33,000 and $44,000.

You may also get bonuses or incentives such as inexpensive fares, free promotional vacations, and other travel-related rewards.

Job Bank Job Bank Canada, Wages Report, provides hourly wages for travel counsellors in these BC regions:

 

travel counsellor regional wage

Sources: Job Bank Canada Wages Report, Go2HR

Working Hours

Most travel counsellors have regular work schedules: 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. You may be expected to work evenings and weekends, especially during peak travel periods.

If you are self-employed you usually work longer hours.

Skills, Education, and Experience

Skills

  • strong written and verbal communication skills
  • customer service
  • aptitude for selling and marketing
  • ability to work under pressure
  • ability to handle money and other forms of payment
  • proven research, organizational and time management skills
  • travel experience and knowledge of world geography an asset
  • second language an asset

Education and Experience

To work as a travel counsellor in BC you require:

  • Completion of secondary school
  • A college diploma or vocational training in travel or tourism is usually required

Qualifications

This occupation is not regulated in British Columbia.

There are no mandatory requirements for licensing or professional certification in order to work as a travel counsellor in BC.

However, some employers may request you have certification with the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors (CITC). Additional information on certification can be found here:

Sources: Go2HR, Career Cruising (Profile for Travel counsellor), WorkBC Career Profile

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily and the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • go2 Job Board
    Tourism jobs available throughout BC. Search for available positions by sector, region, city, job type or keyword.
  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For travel counsellors, look for these related job titles

  • Booking Agent
  • Reservation Sales Agent
  • Tourist Information Counsellor
  • Travel Consultant
  • Travel Agent
  • Travel Specialist

Source: NOC 6521

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of potential employers. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Personnel guide to Canada’s travel industry
    Listings of travel agencies, tour operators and other companies in the travel industry across Canada
    Available at the Central Library, 338.479 P46
  • Meeting places: a guide to planning a successful meeting in British Columbia
    Available at Central Library, 338.47905 M49
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “travel agencies” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter. These should identify the position you are applying for and summarize your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following guides which are available in print at the Central Library or online:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for travel professionals in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Provide current information about the travel industry. Examples include: