Tour manager

tour director
Hospitality, catering and tourism

Career outlook for tour manager

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would make sure that tours for groups of holidaymakers run smoothly and that they enjoy themselves. You would stay with a group throughout their tour, telling them about details like arrival and departure times and places of interest.

It's most likely that you would work on coach tours, although some tours also take place by rail or cruise ship. Tours can last from two to three days to over a month. 

You would:

  • Welcome the tour group at the start of their trip and inform them of travel arrangements and stopover points
  • Make sure all travel arrangements run according to plan, and that the accommodation, meals and service are satisfactory
  • Help with passport and immigration issues
  • Give spoken overviews of places en route (local guides may also be used)
  • Promote and sell excursions to tour members
  • Advise on sights, local restaurants and shops at each destination
  • Record issues that may require follow-up after the tour

You would need to be ready at all times to give advice, solve problems and deal with any emergencies.

You could also specialise in the business travel sector. You would then manage travel for people on business trips. You may have to deal with insurance, visas, vehicle hire and changes of plan.

Working conditions


You would be responsible for the group throughout their tour, working from early morning until late in the evening, including weekends. You could be on call 24 hours a day. You could work full-time or become freelance, working from tour to tour. The work can often be seasonal, with more jobs available during holiday periods.


Most tours would involve indoor and outdoor elements.


You would have to follow the tour, so you may often spend long periods away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Problem solving
  • Empathising
  • Respecting
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Recalling

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most employers value a good general education at SCQF levels 4 to 6.

Qualifications in leisure and tourism are available at all levels through colleges and universities and you may find it useful to complete one of these, but it is not essential.

Skills and personality are important.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Modern languages
  • Geography
  • Modern studies
  • History or other social studies subjects
  • Administrative subjects
  • ICT subjects
  • Business subjects

You will also need

You should have knowledge of and interest in the history and geography of the area you want to work in. 

You will also normally need a driving licence.

For some jobs, you may need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show customer services skills, knowledge of leisure, travel and tourism and organisational skills such as Skills for Work Travel and Tourism (SCQF level 4/5) or Higher National Certificate in Active Tourism (SCQF level 7).

Fluency in a foreign language is helpful if working overseas.