Tour guides accompany visitors on local tours and guide tourists within a specific country, region, area, city or site. They provide special information on history, archaeology, monuments and works of art, the environment, culture, natural and built attractions, places of interest, and any general matters of interest to the visitor.
You can work as a tour guide without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in tourism, travel and tourism, or guiding. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a tour guide through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Tourism, Travel and Tourism, or Guiding. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. Entry to this occupation may also be improved if you have relevant experience in the hospitality or tourism industries.
Tour guides may perform the following tasks:
Being a tour guide is often physically demanding. During a tour, guides must be available at all times to answer questions and sort out problems. Manual work such as loading or unloading baggage or other equipment may be required. Tour guides are often required to spend time away from home, especially those fulfilling the role of tour manager.
Most tour guides work casually on a contract or part-time basis, as employment tends to be seasonal. There are some opportunities for self-employment as a tour operator, tour manager or tour guide supervisor who trains tour guides. Some tour guides work at specific attractions such as museums, cultural centres, theme parks and sporting facilities. Fluency in languages other than English is highly desirable. There is often demand for tour guides who can speak Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, French and Italian.