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Courier/tour guide: job description

Courier/tour guide: job description

Couriers travel with groups of tourists on package tours to national and international holiday destinations, where they are responsible for every aspect of the holiday.
Working as a courier offers an excellent opportunity to travel the world.

What do couriers and tour guides do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Couriers are either employed by tour and coach operators or work on a freelance or consultant basis. It is their responsibility to ensure that a holiday runs smoothly and filfils all of its promises. This includes:

  • undertaking pre-holiday research
  • making arrangements for catering, accommodation, transport and excursions
  • inspecting hotel safety and cleanliness
  • offering sightseeing advice
  • organising and leading excursions
  • problem solving
  • translating and interpreting
  • preparing reports.

There is often very little 'on the job' training other than short induction programmes, perhaps including some job shadowing. Opportunities for promotion are limited. The work is normally seasonal and can require long hours and time spent away from home. Couriers may be 'on call' 24 hours a day.

Adverts appear in local and national newspapers and specialist press such as Travel Trade Gazette or Travel Weekly. It is advisable to make speculative applications.

Qualifications and training required

A degree is not required for entry into this profession, but strong competition often makes relevant experience and/or qualifications necessary. This could include National Vocational Qualifications or a degree in an appropriate subject such as leisure, travel, tourism, or languages.

Work with the general public, or experience gained within the hotel, tourism or travel trades is usually beneficial.

Key skills for couriers / tour guides

Potential employees should be fit and healthy with lots of energy and confidence, be able to work effectively without supervision, possess a calm 'customer focused' manner, and have excellent interpersonal skills.

Foreign language skills are essential. Familiarity and knowledge of key holiday destinations, first aid skills and a driving licence can also be useful.

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