Tourism contributes approximately $4.8 billion to the Metro Vancouver economy annually and supports over 70,000 full time jobs.* Regardless of the specific job title, careers in this field require strong communication skills, a passion for working with people, pride in personal appearance and a love for Vancouver and Canada. Do these qualities describe you? Read on to find out more!
What do tour guides do? A tour guide’s responsibility is to educate and entertain tourists (and sometimes even locals!) and show off what the city has to offer. There are many different types of tours that you can lead: food, beer, wine, cycling or hiking, to name a few.
What skills do you need? Many companies hiring tour guides prefer that you have lived in Vancouver for at least the past 3 years, but if you can demonstrate how familiar you are with the city, there will still be opportunity for you, especially if you have completed a diploma in Tourism. The ability to speak a second language and perform first aid (sometimes a requirement) are bonuses as well. If it is not a walking tour, you may need a valid driver’s license as well. As a tour guide, you must have strong time management skills to keep each tour running smoothly. You will also need to maintain a professional attitude and appearance throughout the tour.
Is this career for me? If you are an outgoing person who enjoys public speaking, is passionate about Vancouver and Canada, and prefers not to sit at a desk all day, this could be very rewarding career for you! You must have good social skills and be able to take control of groups of people. On top of your wage, you will make tips, which is a great bonus! Many tour companies are also able to offer their employees awesome perks like complimentary access to popular attractions, discounts at hotels, and fun staff outings! Just remember that this type of job will likely require you to work varying shifts throughout the week, sometimes on weekends and holidays.
Guest Services/Reservation Agent
What do guest services or reservations agents do? Working in guest services is all about the guest experience, whether you are checking someone in, making a reservation over the phone, or resolving an issue. You want the customer to remember you and the company you represent in such a way that will ensure they leave happy. You are a crucial point of customer contact whose duties could include checking people in, making sure you are charging correct fares, issuing tickets and boarding passes and ensuring the safety and security of guests.
What skills do you need? Effective communication skills are key, whether they be written, in person, or over the phone. You should also have keen problem-solving abilities and knowledge of reservation systems. As with most jobs in the field of Tourism, knowing a second language never hurts!
Is this career for me? You must enjoy interacting with people, be able to multitask, and be confident and calm when handling guest issues. Guest services agents have many responsibilities and need to be able to keep their cool under pressure. It can be a very satisfying job, as you are always in a position to improve someone’s day with a positive experience.
Sales & Marketing
What do people in tourism marketing and sales do? People in tourism marketing or sales positions work to increase interest in attractions throughout the city and draw more people in. Your duties can include creating sales materials, attend trade shows, handle the marketing budget, create leads and manage campaigns. You may also be required to network, creating opportunities for the growth of the company.
What skills do you need? Strong written and verbal communication skills are both essential. You will not only need to be able to communicate to potential customers, but also be able to build relationships with advertising account representatives and influencers within your industry. It is imperative that you have strong attention to detail and organizational skills.
Is this career for me? If you enjoy the challenge of selling and promotion and prefer to work 9:00 to 5:00 hours during the week, this could be a good fit for you. You will spend most of your time indoors at the office but may spend some time at conventions or other networking events.
These are just a handful of examples of Travel and Tourism jobs and there even are more unique paths within each one. The great thing about careers in this field is that you can follow the path that best suits your individual interests. Some people even go on to starting their own tour companies! The options are endless, and often involve some great discounts and benefits along the way, not to mention the rewarding experience of helping to create memories that could last a lifetime.
* Data from www.tourismvancouver.com Vancouver Tourism Industry Fast Facts.