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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, 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

87%
87%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • 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
SOCIAL

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

METHODICAL

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

directive

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

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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 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:

  • 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 Mar 31, 2017

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Tour guides need:

  • patience
  • a good memory for details
  • 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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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 Mar 31, 2017

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.

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: [pdf]

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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • 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 31, 2017
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
Starting
Overall
Top
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
ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

87%
87%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

40%
40%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

33%
33%

Vacancy Rate

15%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) website: www.ahla.ca

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) website: www.acmg.ca

emerit website: www.emerit.ca

Interpretive Guides Association (IGA) website: interpretiveguides.org

Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) website: www.outdoorcouncil.ca

Tourism HR Canada website: tourismhr.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2017. 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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