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Tour Director

Tour directors manage logistical details and lead, accompany and assist passengers on multi-day tours.

  • Avg. Salary $27,213.00
  • Avg. Wage $17.93
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Guide, Travel Guide

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Travel Guides (6441.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Tour and Travel Guides (G721) 
  • 2011 NOC: Tour and travel guides (6531) 
  • 2016 NOC: Tour and travel guides (6531) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Tour Director is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Travel Guides

Interest in speaking to sightseers when visiting and describing points of interest


Interest in copying information to confirm reservations for transportation and accommodations, and to meet prepared itineraries


Interest in planning and carrying out recreational activities; and in resolving problems with itineraries, service and accommodations

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated May 25, 2021

Duties and responsibilities vary but, in general, tour directors:

  • Use the itinerary provided by the tour company to conduct research about the area and attractions along the route
  • Develop commentary about points of interest and insights for the trip
  • Confirm all pre-trip arrangements, including the itinerary, bookings for excursions, transportation, meal and accommodation arrangements
  • Coordinate activities with bus drivers, tour guides, hotel staff and other service personnel
  • Resolve any problems that may arise
  • Answer guests’ questions and provide relevant information
  • Look after guests’ special needs
  • Complete and submit tour reports and other paperwork

Tour directors who work on a freelance basis also may:

  • Organize and promote optional excursions or tours
  • Pay bills for tour components as required and keep accounting records
  • Promote other tour products, attractions and travel packages

For information about other related guides, see the Related Occupational Profiles section.

Working Conditions
Updated May 25, 2021

Tour directors often are on their feet for most of the day, pointing out spots of interest and answering questions. While on tour, they work long hours that include evenings and weekends. They are on call 24 hours a day during a tour. The work often is seasonal.

Tour directors may lift suitcases weighing up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated May 25, 2021

Tour directors need:

  • Maturity
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of the facilities and services at major stops on the tour as well as geography and history relevant to the tour
  • A good memory for details
  • Patience and a genuine interest in all kinds of people
  • Computer skills (for example, to access details on internet and file reports electronically)
  • The ability to respond to unexpected situations calmly, quickly and effectively
  • The ability to create a friendly, enthusiastic atmosphere
  • The ability to communicate effectively with large groups and respond to individual needs

They should enjoy meeting and talking to people, travelling and taking care of travel arrangements, and resolving problems.

Tour directors should have no personal commitments that interfere with frequent travel.

Educational Requirements
Updated May 25, 2021

There are no standard minimum educational requirements for tour directors. They may be trained on the job or have related post-secondary education. However, most employers prefer to hire applicants who have post-secondary education or years of related experience. First aid and CPR training is recommended.

Tour directors need some knowledge of the travel industry (such as air travel routines and customs regulations) and the cultures of the regions they visit. They should also be at least 21 years of age so they can accompany groups on night club tours. Experience working with the public and an ability to speak a second language are definite assets.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

Grant MacEwan University

Thompson Rivers University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 25, 2021

Tourism HR Canada offers voluntary emerit Tour Guide certification. Recognized across Canada, it leads to the Tourism Certified Professional (TCP) designation. Certification training is accessible from the emerit website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 25, 2021

Some tour directors are employed by tour or travel companies on a temporary basis, usually from March to October and December to March. Those employed full time may assist in a travel office when not on tour. Some tour directors are self-employed and some volunteer their services in return for free trips.

Tour directors may advance to supervisory positions after several years of experience. However, advancement opportunities generally are limited. Experienced tour directors may transition to positions within reservations, operations or sales departments of tour operator organizations.

Tour directors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6531: Tour and travel guides. In Alberta, 83% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated May 25, 2021

Self-employed tour directors are paid a daily rate by the tour company. Tips from satisfied tour members may add considerably to tour directors’ incomes.

Tour and travel guides

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $17.00 $16.43 $16.75
Overall $15.00 $22.50 $17.93 $16.75
Top $15.00 $27.50 $21.72 $20.77

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Driver Training
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 25, 2021

Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) website:

emerit website:

Tourism HR Canada website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated May 25, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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