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So you want to work as a Tour Guide?

As a tour guide, your job would involve working locally or internationally, introducing tourists to various attractions including national parks, historical monuments, botanical gardens, barrier reefs, museums, art galleries, major cities, tourist attractions and other areas of historical or cultural interest.

Your primary responsibilities would include organising, planning and hosting tours around these certain areas of interest. You would offer interesting snippets of information and commentary in your role as cultural ambassador, which would allow visitors to fully experience and enjoy the cultural, social and historical highlights of the place they are visiting. You could be employed by  travel guide companies, local, regional or national tourism boards, licensed tour operators or councils. You could also freelance. While tour guide salaries are typically quite low, tips from tourists may supplement your income. You may also receive free or heavily discounted accommodation, products or services as ‘commissions’ from tourist attractions.
Many tour guides work on seasonal contracts during peak tourist seasons although full-time employment is possible. Irregular work schedules and travel are an integral part of the industry. However, you can usually take time off once the tourist season is over.Many tour guides take on more than one job, since this is typically not a profession which can keep you fully occupied on a long-term basis. Another option could be to work abroad during Australia’s low season as peak seasons in different countries vary significantly.

Types of jobs in the Tour Guide industry include:

  • Sightseeing tour guides
  • Adventure, sport and eco tour guides
  • Tour manager/director
  • Freelance guides

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Tour Guide industry:

  • Excellent public speaking skills
  • Great organisational and leadership skills
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Good language skills
  • A good sense of humour

Interview and Job Hunting tips

  • The industry is extremely competitive so make sure to follow up after your interview to thank them for their time and find out if you were successful.
  • The tour industry is all about connecting with people so be friendly and confident, be a leader, be personable and easy to get along with.
  • Be prepared with a good story that showcases your skills and passion for travel or demonstrates your ability to lead groups of people.
  • Be prepared to talk about a time you got yourself or others out of a sticky situation. The recruiter needs to know they can count on you to solve problems on the go.