How to become a tour guide

Training as a tour guide

Ever since people went on vacation, and especially since package tours were introduced, the professional profile of tour guides has also existed. However, the job should not be confused with that of an entertainer, even if the boundaries are fluid here with some tour operators.

As a rule, a tour guide specializes in a certain tourist destination and looks after a tour group for the entire holiday period. The job title tourist guide or tourist guide is less common and is used specifically for guided tours in cities and places of interest.

The tour guide is responsible for the entire holiday group and ensures a carefree holiday. In the event of problems and the organizational process, the tour guide is the first point of contact. The area of ​​responsibility includes all areas of travel, from transport to accommodation to food, excursions or personal problems of the travelers.

Providing information on city trips, excursions or tourist attractions is of course also part of the job. Knowledge of the local conditions, the culture and often the language is therefore necessary. The tour guides' employers are primarily tour operators, hotels, tourist offices or tourism associations.

Video on the job profile of a tour guide (example: ruf Jugendreisen)

Salary as a tour guide

A salary as a tour guide depends on many different factors, which result from qualifications, professional experience or area of ​​responsibility. Very few tour guides work as an employee for a tour operator, but on a fee basis. The tour guide pays taxes on the fee itself.

The fee is usually calculated according to flat daily rates, which can be between 85 and 250 euros, for example. However, significantly lower daily rates are also possible, especially in the youth travel sector. In addition, certain special payments can of course be made through expenses, bonuses or profit sharing.

If there is an employment relationship in the salaried area, which is within the scope of the collective agreement of the German Travel Agency Association, then a collective wage of 1,800 to 2,500 EUR gross per month is possible. Payments outside the collective bargaining agreement are well below this range.

Many tour guides supplement their salaries with payments from service providers in the holiday resorts. But caution is advised here, because an agreement with the employer is absolutely necessary.

Training as a tour guide

No specific training is required by law for these jobs. The tour operators train themselves or employ tour guides with professional training in the tourism sector or a degree in cultural studies. When traveling with young people, tour guides are often prospective educators in their studies.

In addition, tour guides are not a recognized training occupation under the Vocational Training Act. Each company determines the scope of training itself. As a rule, it is then possible to have the training verified by the IHK, for example.

Training allowances are usually not paid. Costs may even be incurred.

Working where other people go on vacation is certainly not the worst working environment. However, the salary of the tour guide is often relatively tight.

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Characteristics and requirements for tour guides

Direct and permanent contact with customers from early in the morning until late at night requires a good understanding of the service concept and a communicative nature. To be open to questions and problems all day long and to be polite and courteous to the customer is very exhausting.

The tour guide must have a good organizational talent, because many processes, from excursions to city tours, have to be planned, organized and coordinated with a local service provider.

There are peak times for tour guides when the demands are particularly high. These are the so-called changeover days on which one group of holidaymakers leaves, while the next group of holidaymakers arrives a short time later. The stress factor on these days is very high.

Application as a tour guide

Tour guides and tour guides often work on a fee basis and not as an employee. Anyone who makes an application for a job offer as a tour guide creates an application folder with a cover letter, curriculum vitae and copies of certificates.

Today, applications are made almost exclusively via the Internet. Printing out the documents and sending them by post is now rather the exception.

The cover letter puts the motivation and qualification of the tour guide in the foreground. In the majority of cases, this cover letter decides whether you will be rejected or progressed to the next round.

The curriculum vitae for applying as a tour guide is created in tabular form and contains important personal data such as name, address, marital status, etc., as well as the school and professional career with the stations important for the job.

Examples and tips for applying!

Trends and developments in tourism

“Why wander far away when the good is so close?” More and more German vacationers are taking this literary quote to heart and spending their vacation in Germany. Tourism in one's own country is booming and is being promoted by the economic crisis.

Holidays in Germany are not immediately cheaper than abroad, but Germans seem to want to get to know their own country. Certainly also a consequence of uncertainties due to terrorism and political instability in other vacation countries.

City trips and day trips in particular benefit from this development; the focus here is on the shopping experience and leisure activities.

The travel industry is also very cyclical and in a recession the tourism industry usually has to reckon with a massive drop in sales. Conversely, this reduces the chances of finding jobs and the number of vacancies for tour guides.

There are no reliable employment figures for tour guide jobs, especially since many only work in this job for a few months or even weeks. In general, however, it can of course be said that if the tourism industry is doing well, there are also enough positions for tour guides, tourist guides or travel companions.

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