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Occupational Profile

Tour Director

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

  • Avg. Salary $27,426.00
  • Avg. Wage $16.32
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Guide, Travel Guide

NOC & Interest Codes
The Tour Director is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Travel Guides
NOC code: 6441.2
SOCIAL

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

METHODICAL

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

directive

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

Duties
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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

  • take the itinerary provided by the tour company and conduct research of the area to develop commentary for the route
  • research all stops along the tour to provide passengers with information about attractions
  • verify and confirm previously made transportation, meal and accommodation arrangements
  • co-ordinate activities with bus drivers, tour guides, hotel staff and other service personnel
  • resolve any problems that may arise
  • answer questions and provide relevant information
  • look after the special needs of people on the tour
  • complete and submit tour reports and other paperwork.

Tour directors who work on a freelance basis also may:

  • organize and promote optional tours
  • pay bills as required and keep accounting records 
  • promote other tour products, attractions and travel packages.

For information about local tour guides or mountaineering, hunting and fishing guides, see the Tour Guide and Outdoor Sport and Recreation Guide occupational profiles.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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 and are on call 24 hours a day. 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 Mar 09, 2016

Tour directors need the following characteristics:

  • maturity
  • good problem solving skills
  • 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 also be responsive to individual needs
  • 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
  • lots of patience and a genuine interest in all kinds of people.

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 Mar 09, 2016

There are no standard minimum education requirements for tour directors but most employers prefer to hire applicants who have post-secondary education or years of related experience. First aid training is recommended.

Tour directors need some knowledge of the travel industry (for example, air travel routines, 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 a second language are definite assets.

The Canadian Tourism Resource Council offers emerit Tour Director training and certification.

Tour directors may be trained on the job or have related post-secondary education.

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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 on a full time basis 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.

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 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • 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 Mar 09, 2016

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 directors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6531: Tour and travel guides. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Tour and travel guides occupational group earned on average from $14.44 to $18.15 an hour. The overall average wage was $16.32 an hour. For more information, see the Tour and travel guides wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Tourism
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Driver Training
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 09, 2016

Cultural Human Resources Council website: www.culturalhrc.ca

Discover Tourism website: www.discovertourism.ca

emerit website: www.emerit.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 2015. 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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