How do I Become a Tour Operator?

Sheri Cyprus

If you want to become a tour operator, it's best to plan to get work at a location you really love. After all, what may be an exciting one-time travel adventure for tourists will be a daily repetitive routine for you. A tour guide needs to be passionate about his or her job to provide both employers and customers with top-notch, inspirational guiding services. The more energized you are about the tours you repeat often, and the better you connect with your tourist customers while doing it, the chances are increased that you'll become a tour operator who is much in demand by travel industry employers.

A tour operator may work on a cruise ship.
A tour operator may work on a cruise ship.

Formal education and training aren't usually required for a career as a tour guide. You can contact the travel office connected with the tours you're interested in to ask about their expected qualifications for tour operators. Making contact with possible future employers can also help you make valuable networking contacts if you speak with the travel office manager. Conveying your knowledge of, and passion for, operating tours in a genuinely engaging way can make you memorable to tour managers.

Tour operators need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the city where they offer tours.
Tour operators need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the city where they offer tours.

Personable, easy going, extroverted personality types usually have the most opportunities to become a tour operator. Yet, tour operators must also be conscientious, well organized and safety-minded. Tours are usually tightly scheduled and carefully planned; they depend on dedicated operators to carry them out efficiently. Travel industry companies expect all employees to always follow company policies in order to comply with laws and safety regulations.

Tour operators may focus on specific adventure activities.
Tour operators may focus on specific adventure activities.

If you yearn for a desk or marketing job designing travel packages, you're unlikely to be ready to become a tour operator. On the other hand, if you'd rather be outdoors communicating with people directly and enriching their travel experience with your words, a tour operator career is likely to be a good fit with your interests. Take a few tours yourself and analyze what makes an ideal tour operator.

Tour operators might have an interest in local sites.
Tour operators might have an interest in local sites.

You may be able to find relevant courses to take from an accredited travel college that will help you in your goal to become a tour operator. If the college offers practicum or placement work with a tour company, it could give you great entry-level experience for your resume. When looking for tour career options, research local, regional and national travel industry companies, depending on your ability to relocate. Working on a cruise ship may even be a possibility.

Tour operators should be familiar with fine dining options in popular tourist spots.
Tour operators should be familiar with fine dining options in popular tourist spots.
Tour operators may select different amenities for travelers, such as massages.
Tour operators may select different amenities for travelers, such as massages.

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