Careers in tourist services

Tourism is a huge industry in the UK – in 2011 alone it is estimated that £99 billion was spent as a direct result of the tourism trade.  With a rich and interesting history and landscape, millions of visitors from all over the world, and locally, explore the UK each year.

The industry offers a breadth of career opportunities. You could work for a national tourist organisation and promote the visitor experience in your area – such as wildlife parks, zoos and museums. If you’d love to bring historical stories to life, you could be a tour guide and show tourists famous landmarks while giving them information about the site and its fascinating past. Finally, you could work in a tourism information centre, advising tourists about what places to visit and the most popular local activities.

There are three main areas within the tourist services:

  • National and regional tourist organisations are responsible for marketing and developing tourism for domestic and overseas visitors. The national tourist boards in the UK are Visit Britain, Visit Scotland, Visit Wales and Northern Ireland Tourist Board.  Within these organisations there is sometimes the opportunity to work abroad, to promote tourism in the UK.
  • Tourist information centres provide information about the local area for tourists. There are tourist information centres all over the UK, where you can pick up free brochures and maps, and speak to a tourist information officer for advice about local activities.
  • Tour guiding involves showing visitors around local attractions and demonstrating the wealth of history and culture of the surroundings. There are tour guides operating within historical buildings, museums, coaches, theatre and more – so there is plenty of scope in this area.