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Tour Guide

Kaiārahi Rōpū Haere

Tour guides escort people on sightseeing, educational or other tours, and describe points of interest.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

What are the chances of getting a job?

Poor

Chances of getting a full-time job as a tour guide are poor due to low demand for their services and few job openings.

According to Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of tour and museum guides decreased by about 3% between 2010 and 2012.

Summer best for finding work

It is easier to get work between November and April, when more tourists visit New Zealand, but those jobs are often casual, and the amount of work depends on bookings. Little work is available in New Zealand for full-time guides between May and October.

Communication skills and foreign languages help your chances of getting work

Employers prefer tour guides who have:

  • a good knowledge of New Zealand history, geography and culture
  • the ability to convey this knowledge appealingly to a wide range of clients
  • some ability to speak a foreign language.

Varied employers

Employers of tour guides include:

  • private tour companies
  • museums
  • wildlife sanctuaries and some government departments, such as the Department of Conservation (ecotour guides).

Tour guides may run their own businesses and market their services directly to the public, or to tour companies.

Sources

  • ATTTO, 'Approved Destination Status (ADS) Graduation', accessed March 2009, (www.attto.org.nz).
  • Button, G, programme co-ordinator ecotourism, Te Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Careers New Zealand interview, October 2010.
  • Department of Labour, ‘2003-2012 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
  • Inbound Tour Operators Council, 'Annual Report 2010', 2010, (www.itoc.org.nz).
  • Tourism New Zealand, 'Key Tourism Statistics', 21 October 2010, (www.tourismnewzealand.com).

Current vacancies

Zipline Guide- Rotorua Canopy Tours Listed: 11 Apr 2014 Bay Of Plenty
Queenstown Ski Bus Drivers Listed: 07 Apr 2014 Otago
Central Plateau Programme Coordinator Listed: 28 Mar 2014 Auckland
Tour Guide and Website Manager Listed: 15 Apr 2014 Auckland
Adventure cave guide Listed: 20 Apr 2014 Waikato
Adventure Travel Guide & Driver: Summer 2014/15 Listed: 17 Apr 2014 Otago
GUIDE / CUSTOMER SERVICE Listed: 14 Apr 2014 Bay Of Plenty

Other vacancy websites

Progression and specialisations

Tour guides can go on to work as:

  • consultants to tourism businesses
  • managers, marketers or owners of tourism businesses
  • tour package co-ordinators.

How many people are doing this job?

Year 2012
1,717
Year 2011
1,780
Year 2010
1,779
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.

Zane Smith looking through a bookings folder in his office

Tour guide work is usually busy during summer and quiet at other times

Zane Smith beside the blowhole at Punakaiki

Eco-tour guides need to understand natural phenomena such as the blowhole at Punakaiki

Tony Kuepfer, right, standing talking to a group of museum tour guide trainees, in Te Papa museum

Tony Kuepfer, right, instructing a group of museum tour guide trainees, in Te Papa museum

Updated 16 Apr 2014