Tour and Travel Guides

Occupation:Tourism and Amusement Services Workers
Category:Sales and Service

About the job

Nature of work:

Tour guides escort individuals and groups on short trips and sightseeing tours of cities, historical sites, famous buildings, manufacturing plants, cathedrals and theme parks. They also provide descriptions and background information on interesting features. Travel guides escort individuals and tour groups on business and vacation trips, often acting as tour guides, as well as planning recreational activities and taking care of problems with itineraries, service, or accommodations. Tour and travel guides are employed by tour operators, resorts and other establishments or may be self-employed.

Outdoor sport and recreational guides organize and conduct trips or expeditions for sports enthusiasts, adventurers, tourists and resort guests. They are employed by private companies and resorts or may be self-employed.

Casino workers operate gaming tables, assist patrons using slot machines, accept keno wagers, pay out winning bets and jackpots and collect losing bets. They are employed by casinos.

Job duties:
Tour guides perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Transport or escort individuals or groups on tours of cities, waterways and industrial and other establishments.
  • Describe points of interest, answer questions and supply information.
  • Provide historical and cultural facts related to the site.
  • May collect admission fees and sell souvenirs.
Travel guides perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Escort individuals and groups on vacation and business trips.
  • Ensure that reservations for transportation and accommodations are confirmed and that prepared itineraries are met.
  • Visit and describe points of interest and plan and carry out recreational activities.
  • Resolve problems with itineraries, service and accommodations.
  • Assemble and inspect necessary equipment and supplies, such as camping gear, rafts, life jackets, fishing tackle and food.
  • Lead or escort individuals or groups and advise on safety and emergency measures, techniques and the use of equipment.
  • Provide instruction for activities such as canoeing, rafting and mountain climbing.
  • Advise on specific regulations such as hunting and fishing laws and boating regulations, follow environmental guidelines and prevent violations.
  • Provide first aid in emergency situations.
Casino workers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate gaming tables and games such as roulette, blackjack, keno, baccarat and poker.
  • Explain rules of games to patrons and ensure that rules are followed.
  • Accept keno wagers and issue computerized tickets for selection.
  • Determine winners or announce winning numbers.
  • Calculate and pay out winning bets and jackpots, collect losing bets and maintain related reports.
  • Fill slot machines with coins and assist patrons experiencing difficulties with machines.
  • Perform minor adjustments to slot machines.
Sample job titles:
  • casino dealer
  • gaming table dealer
  • horseback riding guide
  • hunting and fishing guide
  • mountain guide
  • outdoor guide
  • sightseeing guide
  • ski resort host/hostess
  • tour guide
  • travel guide

For tour, travel and outdoor sport and recreational guides you should be poised, organized, tactful, and patient. Interpersonal skills and the ability to deal comfortably with strangers are important. You should be resourceful and able to handle the unexpected. Knowledge of the travel business or the specific areas of tourism in which you work will be required. Good communication skills are also necessary. Knowledge of both official languages and/or an additional language is an asset and may be required.

Outdoor sport and recreational guides should also have a thorough understanding of safety requirements, environmental guidelines, and provincial regulations concerning hunting, fishing, and boating. Physical fitness and stamina are required for many outdoor sport and recreational activities.

Casino workers require good vision and hearing. Manual dexterity is needed to operate gambling tables and games with cards. You will need to be methodical and comfortable with simple calculations in order to ensure that all patrons are aware of and follow the rules, and to determine winners, collect bets, pay winners, and keep reports. Good communication skills are required to explain rules and ensure that patrons follow them, as well as to resolve complaints.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required for some jobs within this grouping.
  • On-the-job training is provided for many jobs within this grouping.
  • Knowledge of both official languages and/or an additional language may be required for some positions in this group.
  • Knowledge of a particular terrain, demonstrated ability in the guided activity and relevant licences are required for employment in this group.
  • Hot air balloon pilots require completion of 10 hours of ground school, 16 hours of pilot-in-command experience and a Balloon Pilot Licence issued by Transport Canada.
  • Certification in first aid and CPR may be required.
  • Security clearance is required for all casino workers.
  • Casino gaming licences are usually required for all casino employees.
Other considerations:

Because many of these jobs are heavily influenced by tourism activity in Nova Scotia, employment levels tend to vary throughout the year and peak in the summer months. Also, general economic conditions will have an impact on the level of business and pleasure travel undertaken by Nova Scotians. Therefore, employment levels will vary from year to year in many of these jobs.

Most people in this group are either self-employed or work for a small to medium-sized business.

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience in all activities related to gaming.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Tourism and Amusement Services Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 26% of Tourism and Amusement Services Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $34,267. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Tour and Travel Guides265xxx
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $13.00
Maximum: $22.50
Minimum: $2,388
Median: $13,000
Maximum: $47,265
Occupations in Sales and Service102,605Decline slightly5,260Moderate
Minimum: $10.70
Median: $12.50
Maximum: $21.17
Minimum: $2,949
Median: $16,629
Maximum: $45,086
Tour and Travel GuidesCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
Percent employed full-time72%59%
Percent self-employed21%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentTour and Travel GuidesCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton20%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley10%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeTour and Travel GuidesCompared to: All Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4637
GenderTour and Travel GuidesCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
EducationTour and Travel GuidesCompared to: All Sales and Service
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school10.6%$14,74018.8%$9,486
High school48.2%$14,03940.4%$12,982
Trades certificate8.2%x8.0%$18,797
College certificate or diploma10.6%$18,11819.9%$19,514
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.6%$18,279
Bachelor's degree17.6%$14,00410.0%$20,807
University advanced certificate or diploma2.4%x0.5%$15,716
Master's degreeN/Ax0.8%$20,769
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$17,368
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Fishing & Hunting Guide
Right to Practice:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 698, 1701 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS B3J 2T9
(902) 424-5935
(902) 424-7735
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Tourism Talent
2089 Maitland Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2Z8
Tel: (800) 948-4267
Fax: (902) 422-0184
Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Sector Council
2089 Maitland Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2Z8
Tel: (902) 422-5853
Fax: (902) 422-0184

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Program Name:Canadian studies
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the history, society, politics, culture, and economics of one or more of the peoples of Canada and its pre-Columbian, colonial, and pre-Confederation predecessors, including immigrant flows and related borderlands and island groups.
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Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
Additional resources: