Tour Guides offer company and information to individuals or groups of travelers. They are knowledgeable and savvy about the places they show to tourists. On tours that include sightseeing historical buildings, sites, and locations, Tour Guides must be able to provide travelers with all the information they should know about the place they’re visiting. Most Tour Guides work on a pre-established route and visit a selected list of locations. They are usually employed by tour operators, hotels, resorts, and other establishments such as museums or historical landmarks. However, some Tour Guides work independently or are self-employed.
Tour Guides are expected to provide tourists with information regarding the place they’re visiting, answer questions they may have, and adhere to a pre-designed route to avoid getting lost.
Some Tour Guides work with city sightseeing companies that take tourists around a city and show them the main landmarks. A few of these tours are performed from a bus, while others are on foot. Tour groups may vary in age, from teenagers to senior citizens, and country of origin. Tour Guides can be limited to specific establishments such as museums, parks, or historical places, while others take people on adventure trips in the wilderness, like in a safari; these are known as Adventure Tour Guides and they must have some extra qualifications due to the nature of their work field.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Tour Guides are required to complete.
- Attending briefing meetings with the Tour Manager about important information about the tour group (e.g. age group, interests, and special needs).
- Greeting tourists before starting the tour:
- Learning their names;
- memorizing their faces; and
- checking the number of people in the group.
- Explaining emergency procedures to the group and making sure they understand them.
- Distributing promotional material about the trip to the tourists.
- Escorting individuals or groups on sightseeing trips:
- Providing information about the history and culture of the places they visit;
- describing points of interests; and
- answering questions tourists may have.
- Managing groups of up to thirty people:
- Being able to keep the group focused;
- making sure no one gets lost or left behind; and
- making sure the group is safe.
- Driving a motorized vehicle like a bus or a boat when necessary.
- Making sure that the group adheres and follows local laws, regulations, or rules of specific destinations.
- Responding to emergency situations:
- Providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or first aid to tourists if needed;
- remaining calm during stressful situations; and
- handling a group of panicking people.
- Assisting tourists with special needs like senior citizens, people with disabilities, and people with small babies.
- Pre-briefing about the group.
- Meeting the group.
- Going over emergency procedures with the group.
- Explaining points of interest during the trip.
- Answering questions about the tour.
- Distributing promotional material.
- Making sure the group stays together and is safe until the end of the tour.
The average Tour Guide salary is $38,246 per year or $20 per hour. This is around 1.2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $27,000 while most experienced workers make up to $54,000. These results are based on 137 salaries extracted from job descriptions.