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Tour Guide

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

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

Driver, 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: Tour Guides (6441.1) 
  • 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 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Tour Guide is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Tour Guides

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

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 Mar 09, 2016

In general, tour guides:

  • greet customers (tourists) and describe the content and length of the tour
  • conduct people on tours of cities, local points of interest, historical sites or establishments such as legislative buildings, cathedrals, bars or wineries
  • provide information about the area, 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 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 perform 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 (for example, road construction) and 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.

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:

  • 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 (e.g. school children or people whose first language is not English).

For information about guides who escort groups on holiday tours, see the Tour Director occupational profile. For information about mountaineering, hunting and fishing guides, see the Outdoor Sport and Recreation Guide occupational profile. For information about guides who conduct tours of historical or heritage sites, see the Heritage Interpreter occupational profile. 

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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 that include evenings and weekends, and may have to work through meal times. They may work on a volunteer, part time, seasonal or contract basis.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 09, 2016

Tour guides need the following characteristics:

  • 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
  • knowledge related to the tours they conduct 
  • the ability to respond to unexpected situations quickly and effectively
  • a good memory for details
  • lots of patience.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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

Tour guides are trained on the job. After an initial training period, some employers require tour guides to pass an examination to ensure that company standards are met.

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

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 09, 2016

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 employed on a full time basis must be mature. Summer guiding positions often are filled by university students.

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

Tour guides 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
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
  • Driver Training
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 09, 2016

Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) website:

Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) website:

Discover Tourism website:

emerit website:

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

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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