The job of a tour guide can be hectic yet rewarding. As a tour guide in Canada , you not only get the opportunity to take your clients to different destinations within the country but also can have a vacation yourself when working.
In the touring industry, there are different types of tour guide options that you can choose from to pursue your career in this niche. However, initially, you will have to put in more work for comparatively less. But, if you are passionate enough with a flair for communication and information, you will be able to climb the ladder rather quickly. So, if you are wondering how to become a tour guide in Canada, fret not.
In this article, we have everything covered for you, starting from how to become a tour guide in Canada to the types of tours and tour guide jobs available in the industry.
Qualities and Skills Required to Be a Tour Guide in Canada
The following skills are needed to be worked on if you want to become a tour guide in Canada:
A guide must be presentable with a loud and clear voice because that’s what a tour guide offers. The guests who will be your customer and the targeted audience will choose you over others if you are able to connect with them by offering a set of information in the most catchy form.
When people travel, they feel a bit emotional about new experiences and new places. No matter if you are the greatest historian and know all the facts about a particular place or monument, as a tour guide, you still need to channel the emotions of the tourist into making them feel more comfortable and confident about the information you are presenting. While giving information about a place or an event that occurred at a particular place, be a storyteller and present the information as a story that holds some emotion.
Love for Knowledge and Learning
As a tour guide, you need to be a lifelong learner. It is because, in the vocation of a tour guide, things keep changing, and every other customer demands a different version of you. Learning and gaining knowledge have to be your first love if you want to become a tour guide in Canada. It would be best if you learn the art of synthesising information and building a structure to present information in the best way possible. Your knowledge of what you are presenting has to be sharp and credible.
The Mindset to Serve Accordingly
A chef and a tour guide have one thing in common, you both serve what your customer desires and not what you want. To be up to the mark, you need to entertain your customers while making valid points. As a tour guide, it’s your responsibility to treat your guests nicely because no amount of knowledge can win their hearts if there is indifference between you and your guest.
Flexibility is the Key
Being organized is a prerequisite to becoming a tour guide in Canada. Being fine-tuned for every situation is required for you to excel at guiding. Be calm and stay positive in every situation, you may need to deal with customers who are rude, late and but you are supposed to be calm, patient, positive and on-point with the itinerary you will be presenting to them for that day. Don’t get flustered and frustrated while presenting. Be confident and reiterate politely if your guest miss-outs something.
Be Organized and Punctual
Show up to the venue at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled time. You can keep a dozen people waiting and be apologetic for your behavior. Be punctual and try to wrap it up on time. You can’t be finishing the tour an hour late as it may ruin your guest’s other plans and leave them in trouble. The tour has to be in sync with the advertised structure.
Be Enthusiastic and Energetic
The work of a tour guide is an energy driven job. The more energy you put in, the more positive the outcome will be. There will be guests who need an elaborate explanation. It’s your job to make people feel positive and inspired regardless of their age, and you need to be energetic as well to make your guests more attentive.
A tour guide is a leading person on a tour. You just can’t let any guest take control to ruin the experience for others in the name of fun. As a tour guide in Canada, you don’t need to be dominating or autocratic to keep up with the schedule. However, you will have to learn how to take back control in the most generous way.
A tour guide isn’t a profession where you can ask for help from your boss or other employees. In a 3-hour-long tour, there will be various situations wherein you will have to take responsibility. On tour, you will keep adjusting your schedule to prevent multiple issues and complications. As a tour guide, you need to be prepared for every situation.
Types of Tour Guides in Canada
Once you make up your mind to be a tour guide in Canada and know what it takes to be one, you need to select from the major types of tour guides accordingly. Before shortlisting, question yourself:
- What do I Like?
- Does travelling excite me?
- Which category fits my schedule?
The following categories are the common types of tour guides in Canada:
In this category, you will have to present the historical events and artefacts to your guests. Thus, it requires keen observation skills and accurate knowledge, understanding and information.
The job of an adventure guide category is for those individuals who are passionate about tours, travels and adventure sports. As an adventure guide, you should not only know where you can take your guests to make them experience the time of their lives but also the operations and safety measures of various adventure sports and rides to provide better precaution. This category includes wildlife safaris, hiking, rafting and so on.
Motor-Coach City Guide
In this category, you will have to narrate the story, specifications and offerings of the Canadian cities, usually on a bus with a microphone.
Walking Tour Guide
The walking tour guide category is for those who like to roam around the city and have proper knowledge and information about a city. A tour guide will have to walk the guest through the city who wants to get a closer look at the urban life of Canada. It is up to you to unearth and exhibit to your audience the hidden gems of Canadian cities, the most visited places and places that have the country’s heritage.
This category of tour guide is quite different from the rest. The rest of the tour guide types will finish at the end of the day, while this one could be more than a day and even a week long. A tour director generates more capital than the rest.
Types of Tour in Canada
There are two types of tours that might be offered in different ways:
In this type of tour, a tour guide in Canada has a group of approximately 30-40 people who will join them for a few hours.
This tour will be booked by people who know each other. In this tour, the guest will have exclusivity because they won’t have to share the guide as in a public tour. It could be for a nuclear family, joint family or friends.
Other Work Opportunities as a Tour Guide
If you want to be in the tour guide industry, there are numerous jobs you can choose from. Below mentioned are the mainstream career opportunities for a tour guide in Canada.
There are several tour operating companies available that may hire you to regulate touring facilities for their clients on a semi-predictable schedule. You might also get an opportunity to lead a group of people as a tour guide for a specific tour.
Start Your Own Touring Business
Currently, there is cut-throat competition in the tour and travel industry. If you think that you have all the required skills, you can start your own touring business in Canada. Be sure and ready to invest your time, energy and a big chunk of money if you wish to start your own business. It is the most rewarding opportunity for individuals, as there is nothing greater than freedom. You will have total control of what you will perform. However, with freedom comes responsibility, so you better do your research and make decisions wisely.
Even when you are not part of a tour guide company in Canada or do not have your own touring firm, you can still become an independent contractor. It is the most common profile of a tour guide in Canada. As it is quite expensive for companies to hire individuals on a payroll, tour operators often hire tour guides on a contract basis. The remuneration and tenure are negotiated between both parties. If you are working for a tour operator as an independent contractor, the latter will provide you with all the traveling details you require to guide your customers.
Is Training Required to Be a Tour Guide in Canada?
If you are passionate about being a tour guide in Canada but don’t have any prior experience in the field, you can take training from various training companies. That way, you will also get a brief idea of what a career as a tour guide will be like.
However, getting certification from any organization is not a prerequisite to becoming a tour guide in Canada. Getting training will surely help but doesn’t guarantee that you will have a great career projection.
In the end, it’s your skills that will help you communicate and express yourself better, and that’s all it takes to excel at being a tour guide in such a vast country.
To Sum Up
Begin your career as a tour guide in Canada if you have all the required skills and acquired knowledge of this industry. One thing to keep in mind is that the touring industry is none like other industries.
However, constant learning about the city and the art of demonstration is sacrosanct in the job of a tour guide. You can take inspiration from what your competitors are doing, but you cannot make them your mirror. As a tour guide, being street smart and having practical knowledge of destinations is important so that you can guide your tourists effectively. As clients, your customers would always demand extra of everything.
So, show them what you can offer other than regular touring guides. The touring industry gives you an opportunity to connect with more people, whether they are your client or people who also offer touring facilities. Work for a company or as an independent contractor to become a successful tour guide in Canada.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You don’t need any qualifications if you want to become a tour guide in Canada. All you need is knowledge, presentation and communication skills.
You will have to work even on weekends, as most people prefer to visit any place during that time. Your schedule can be cancelled without any prior notice. During your initial phase, you have to work more for less money.
Tour guides in Canada make around CAD 33,900 annually, or CAD 18 per hour.
No, it is not mandatory to have a licence to be a tour guide in Canada. A licence is required only if you want to operate as a national historical or national park tour guide.