Land Based Tour Guide Jobs
Are you good at talking in front of groups of people? Do you have the ability to navigate and lead others? Would you like to get paid to travel? Well then, one of the most sought after jobs that you can get is that of a land tour guide.
The land tour industry has grown from strength to strength over the past few decades and now incorporates a diverse range of elements that are used to treat tourists to an exciting, informative, and valuable travel experience. The industry currently supports approximately 39,000 people in the United States with the U.S. Travel Association preparing to introduce 1.3 million more jobs, as well as injecting the economy with $859 billion by the year 2020.
Land tour jobs are expected to increase dramatically over the next 5 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and this job growth will be even further enhanced by the joining of the various regional, national and international associations. Pay for a tour guide averages at roughly $25,000 per annum, while that of a tour guide supervisor averages at $33,000.
Did You Know? Escorted tours save the traveler up to 40% than if they toured the same itinerary alone, due tour guides receiving group and other discounted rates.
Land Tour Job Options
Land tour jobs are popular for most people and opportunities will be found over a wide variety of industries. These positions are usually thought of as those where you lead a group of tourists to various attractions in an area, but it can also be more specifically focused to art galleries, museums, and other public interest buildings. Here are some interesting tour guide jobs that require special knowledge in a field of study:
- Museum tour guides
- Historical Battlefield and Reenactment tour guides
- Marine biology tour guides
- Astronomy tour guides
- Wildlife or Ecological tour guides
- Winery tour guides
- Architectural tour guides
Land tour jobs can be seasonal and a great option for those who want to earn an additional income in their home town. You could choose to work for a touring company, or open your own tour operation if you feel there is a demand for it. If you're interested in working for a cruise line, then consider that they hire a great many guides for their land-based operations.
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Some positions are full time positions, in which case you will be required to lead tours all year round, usually covering different routes and attractions depending on the season. You have to be able to adapt easily and work with different kinds of tour groups under varying circumstances, sometimes even in unfavorable weather conditions.
Land tour jobs do not have to be based in cities alone on busses, but you can also get adventure tour jobs, cycling tour jobs, horse riding tour guide jobs, safari tour guide jobs and more. These particular positions will require you to have a certain skill to lead the group, such as being a strong cycler or expert horse rider, and apart from providing the group with the regular information, you will need to have accurate geographical knowledge of the area, be able to teach and help the group if necessary with horse riding, cycling etc. You are also normally required to have first aid and CPR knowledge, as with these types of tours you will be venturing predominantly into rural areas without easy access to medical services.
Quick Fact: The people who will do best in this profession will be those who excel at accommodating the needs of group travelers through diplomacy, finesse, and humor.
Requirements for Land Tour Guides
In the United States, dependent on the city you are based in, you will find different licensing and certification requirements. Generally, however, a tour guide course can be taken at a local college, and on the job training will be provided as well. The National Tour Association (NTA) offers a Certified Tour Professional (CTP) certification, as well as endorsing the Sustainable Tourism Eco-certification Program (STEP), which is offered by Sustainable Travel International.
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Aside from the formal guide training, there are certain skills that a tour guide needs to possess in order to competently do his or her job. One of the most important aspects is the ability to speak in front of other people in an engaging manner, and relate interesting facts about certain areas and attractions to a group. Typically a guide will meet his or her tour group at the point of departure, usually an airport, and from there travel by coach or bus to various locations across the city. Land tours encompass more than one location or attraction, requiring the guide to study each location thoroughly in order to provide interesting facts for the tour group.
For certain attractions such as a national park or museum, a step on guide, will take over and provide specific details about this area to the group. These guides are located at the specific attractions and will lead the group through them, providing further in depth information. Nowadays, however, tour guide operations prefer to have just one tour guide offering information to their tour group, so it is imperative that a land tour guide learns about the city they are touring, including comprehensive details about the various attractions that they lead their tour groups to. Many operations require tour guide applicants to complete a written exam in this regard.
Depending on the type of tour operation and city you work in, land tour guides might be required to know and speak at least one alternate language. A tour operator might also be required to get a commercial driver's license in order to operate the tour busses. You also need to be a very responsible person, especially for adventure tours, as you must look after your group and make sure that the tour is enjoyable and safe.
- Land Tour Jobs are expected to increase dramatically over the next 5 years!
- Land Tour Guides earn between $25,000 and $33,000 per year on average.
- The majority of tour guides need to know a foreign language.
- There are many different licensing and certification requirements for tour guides depending on what country and city you are based in.