Tourist guides frequently escort groups around the locations of interest, providing information about the architecture, purpose, and histories of the locations along the walk.
As a tourist guide you may take visitors and guests through locations of interest, including:
- religious sites
- art galleries
- historic buildings
- sightseeing tours
- and towns.
Guides may work in individual locations, such as historic homes, or may work with groups and provide information and knowledge on day tours.
It is also possible to find work as a driver guide, where a tourist guide may direct small groups of visitors on guided tours through interesting venues in a minibus or a car.
There are no particular qualifications that one needs to begin his or her training as a tourist guide. However, a decent general education standard will prove most helpful, particularly since the job often entails the ability to speak fluently and articulately about certain subjects in depth.
People who are interested in working as tourist guides will be at an advantage if they have worked in prior jobs that required them to work with the public and provide frequent presentations.
In some cases, the ability to fluently speak a foreign language may prove advantageous, but it is not necessary to fulfil most positions.
There are some courses and training that you may wish to consider from the Institute of Tourist Guiding . Please visit their site for the latest course information.
It’s important to get your CV right so it says “I want a job as Tourist Guide” see our Career Advice section for CV tips.
Qualifications and Development
Tourist guides who are qualified are often expected to expand upon their existing knowledge base through participating in programmes for training that have been put together by the professional association the Guide of Registered Tourist Guides.
The Guide of Registered Tourist Guides offer qualifications:
- Level 2 Certificate in Travel and Tourism Destinations
- Level 2 Award in UK Travel and Tourism Destinations
- Level 3 Certificate in UK Travel and Tourism Destinations
- Level 3 Certificate in UK Tourism.
Members of the Guild of Registered Tourist Guides will have the advantage of being able to pursue continual professional development, or CPD, through their programme.
Applicants seeking positions as tourist guides will be at an advantage if they possess a strong explicit memory for events, facts, and figures, a clear voice and strong communication skills, the confidence to speak freely with large groups of people, an interest in history, the arts, and closely related subjects, such as anthropology or architecture, and a strong interest in working with people, including with children.
Vacancies and Opportunities
A number of tourist guides pursue self employment, and may work for coach firms or for tour operators. Tourist guides may also find employment through owners of historic properties and public or private visitor attractions, as well as through organisations including the National Trust and English Heritage.
Some tourist guide vacancies will typically only provide work during the summer months, while others may provide only part time work where people operate partially as tourist guides and partially under another job description, such as bus drivers or receptionists.
Tourist guides with the requisite amount of experience may be able to find work as tour managers for certain tour operators.
Top Tip: Email sites where you want to work asking them about vacancies and where they normally place them ie what newspapers, job boards.
The hourly schedule of a tourist guide depends upon the circumstances of his or her job. It is common to have seasonal work, and part time is an option for many tourist guides.
During the tourist season, work is busier, and more than 40 hours a week is not uncommon. Guides in more historic buildings and venues may have more regular hours than tourist guides in other locations.
Tourist guide salaries may vary considerably depending on who employs them or whether they are self employed; the location in which one works may particularly impact the salary that one receives in the field.
The majority of tourist guides pursue self employment and charge fees on a daily or per event basis for their services and expertise.
- Association of Professional Tourist Guides
- Guild of Registered Tourist Guides
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