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Tour & Travel Guides (NOC 6531) may also be called:

  • Tour Directors
  • Sightseeing Guide
  • Tourist Guide
  • Bus Tour Guide
  • Tour Escort
  • Walking Tour Guide

What Would I Do?

Tour and travel guides escort people on trips or give tours of locations of interest. You provide background information, describe features and answer questions from visitors and tourists.

As a tour or travel guide, your duties can include:

  • escort individuals or groups on tours of cities, waterways and other establishments
  • conduct tours that may be one day or multiple days in length
  • describe points of interest, answer questions and provide information
  • provide historical and cultural facts related to the site
  • ensure that that reservations for transportation and accommodations are confirmed and that itineraries are met
  • resolve problems with itineraries, service and accommodations
  • may collect tour fees, which may require the use of a point of sale (POS) wireless terminal

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

Tour & Travel Guides should have:

  • strong verbal communication skills for public speaking
  • good planning skills and the ability to multitask
  • conflict resolution skills and the ability to manage large groups
  • knowledge of other languages
  • good physical stamina and high energy level as travel days can be very long

You should be:

  • detail-oriented, customer-service oriented and excellent drivers

You may travel with tourists to their destination or you may work at a place of interest, such as a city, historical site or theme park. You may work multi-day trips requiring overnight stays in hotels.

Most tour and travel guides work irregular hours since tours may take place during evenings and weekends and on holidays. The workdays can be very long and you may sit in buses for long periods, or be on your feet all day.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile, Career Cruising database (Profile for ‘Tour Guide’)

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the median annual salary for tour & travel guides is $31,284.

In BC’s regions, tour & travel guides can expect to make:

BC hourly regional salaries for tour and travel guides

Source: Job Bank Wage Report [Search 6531]

Your earnings depend on experience, employer, location, and the number of hours worked. Many guides work on a part-time basis. Depending on the type of tour you give, the job may also be seasonal.

Depending on your employer, full-time tour guides may receive dental coverage, paid vacations, and other benefits. If you are self-employed you must provide your own benefits.
Sources: WorkBC Career Profile, Career Cruising database (Profile for ‘Tour Guide’)

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

Limited new opportunities tour and travel guides will arise in expanding tourism businesses although there will be a need to replace those who retire.

Industry sources report a growing need for multilingual tour guides, so there will be increasing demand for those with other languages. Tour participants are also now more interested in background information on a tour, such as details about the natural setting, political background and Aboriginal culture.  Guides who can educate, as well as entertain will be in high demand.

Employment Outlook
forecasted average employment growth rate; job openings; composition of job openings

Chart from WorkBC
Source:  WorkBC Career Profiles

How Do I Become a Tour & Travel Guide?

In B.C., no standard training or education is required for tour & travel guides. However, secondary school graduation is preferred.

Other training or requirements may include:

  • on-the-job training under the supervision of other experienced workers
  • training and certification as a tour guide through, a program of the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council
  • knowledge of both official languages in Canada, as well as other languages

For further information, see:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

Tour & travel guides may work in:

  • publicly owned sites such as parks and zoos
  • travel companies
  • museums

You may work for:

  • tour operators, resorts and other establishments
  • may be self-employed

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

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

Online Job Postings

  • go2HR
    Job board for tourism and hospitality jobs in BC

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who are in the restaurant, food service and hospitality business. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Personnel Guide to Canada’s Travel Industry, online directory of Canadian companies in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry
    • try browsing through ‘Wholesalers/Tour Operators’ and ‘Destinations’
    • also available in print, at the Central Library, Level 4, Reference Resource, 338.479 P46
  • 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 “Tours** and click SEARCH.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    **You can also search for “Travel”, “Sightseeing”, and “Bus Tours”.
    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).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

  • Also check at public galleries or museums as they may be looking for volunteer guides called ‘docents’.

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.

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

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

New employees may obtain positions as tour guide/tour leader, interpretive guide or travel expert.

With further experience and education, you may progress to jobs such as tour guide supervisor or tour operator. You may also obtain positions in the administrative office, assisting with tour bookings, market planning or tour development.

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • go2HR
    information on careers in BC’s hospitality and tourism industry