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Tour Guide

Tour guides escort individuals or groups of people on tours and describe points of interest.

Also Known As

Driver Guide, Guide, Recreation Guide, Sightseeing Tour 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

  • 6441.1: Tour Guides

2006 NOC-S

  • G721: Tour and Travel Guides

2011 NOC

  • 6531: Tour and travel guides

2016 NOC

  • 6531: Tour and travel guides

2021 NOC

  • 64320: Tour and travel guides
Updated May 25, 2021

In general, tour guides:

  • Greet customers (tourists) and describe the content and length of the tour
  • Conduct people on vehicle or foot tours of cities, local points of interest, historical sites or establishments such as legislative buildings, cathedrals, bars or wineries
  • Provide information about the area, such as history, related events, attractions, features and facts of interest to the group
  • Answer questions and distribute information or promotional materials
  • Ensure that tourists follow applicable safety regulations and rules of conduct
  • Implement emergency evacuation procedures, should the need arise

Tour guides often find out as much as possible about the groups they will be guiding beforehand, in order to select points of interest and provide commentary appropriate for the age and interests of the group.

Driver guides operate tour vehicles as well as performing the duties listed above.

Step-on guides frequently work with out-of-town coach drivers who may be unfamiliar with local sightseeing routes. Step-on guides must be familiar with local routes and traffic disruptions, such as road construction. They should be able to provide clear, timely directions as well as narrate the tour. They also must be familiar with the size of the coach and choose appropriate routes to avoid undue negotiating by the driver. Step-on guides interpret features of the local area, which may include geology and natural/human/cultural history.

Meet-and-greet guides welcome arriving tourists, assist with collecting luggage and clearing customs, and take individuals or groups to hotels or tour assembly locations.

Establishment or on-site tour guides escort visiting groups through facilities such as museums, art galleries, night clubs, industrial plants, historical sites or public buildings. In addition to the duties listed above, they may:

  • Collect tickets or entrance fees, and register tourists for the tour
  • Interpret history and culture as it relates to the site
  • Assist with reception or office administration duties
  • Escort or drive visitors to their destinations
  • Show audiovisual presentations or select appropriate music
  • Conduct educational activities for specific groups, such as school children or people whose first language is not English

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

Working Conditions
Updated May 25, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Tour guides may be on their feet for much of the working day, pointing out spots of interest and answering questions. They may work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. They may have to work through meal times. They may work on a volunteer, part-time, seasonal or contract basis.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Tour Guides

2006 NOC: 6441.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in speaking to sightseers to answer questions; may sell souvenirs


Interest in copying information to describe points of interest, supply information and provide historical and cultural facts related to the site


Interest in making transportation and other arrangements

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated May 25, 2021

Tour guides need:

  • Patience
  • A good memory for details
  • A clear and engaging speaking voice
  • Computer skills (for example, to access details on internet and file reports electronically)
  • Knowledge related to the tours they conduct
  • The ability to create a friendly, enthusiastic atmosphere
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people and children
  • The ability to project their voice to be heard by all group participants
  • The ability to respond to unexpected situations calmly, quickly and effectively

They should enjoy meeting and talking to people and sharing information.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Tour and travel guides

2016 NOC: 6531

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 47 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Mar 02, 2022 and Jul 12, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tours Focus: Sightseeing
Tasks: Describe points of interest
Experience: Will train
Tours Focus: Walking tours
Tasks: Co-ordinate recreation activities
Work Site Environment: Outdoors
Type of Guide: Driver-guide, local
Attention to detail
Tasks: Confirm transportation and accommodation reservations
Educational Requirements
Updated May 25, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

Knowledge of the history of the area or establishment and knowledge of subjects related to the tour (for example, art, crafts, horticulture, and ethnic cultures) are definite assets. An ability to speak more than one language also is an asset. Some employers require first aid and CPR training.

Tour guides receive training on the job. After an initial training period, some employers require tour guides to pass an examination to ensure they can meet company standards.

Related Education

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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 25, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

Guides who operate vehicles must have appropriate licences and may be tested again as part of the job interview process.

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

Tour guides may be volunteers, or employed by tour operators or organizations that own or operate facilities. They may be employed full time, only for summer months or part time on a year-round basis. Tour guides who are employed full time must be mature. Summer guiding positions often are filled by university students.

Experienced tour guides may advance to supervisory positions. However, advancement opportunities generally are limited and require the ability to train new guides.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6531: Tour and travel guides occupational group, 83.3% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6531: Tour and travel guides occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 4 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Sep 29, 2022

Tips from satisfied tour members may add considerably to tour guide’s incomes, but tour guides for national parks or other government sites do not typically receive tips.

Tour guides are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 6531: Tour and travel guides.

According to the 2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Tour and travel guides occupational group earned on average from $16.58 to $21.40 an hour. The overall average was $18.52 an hour. For more information, see the Tour and travel guides wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 25, 2021

Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) website:

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) website:

emerit website:

Interpretive Guides Association (IGA) website:

Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) website:

Tourism HR Canada website:

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

Updated Mar 31, 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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