Tourism is a huge industry in the UK – in 2009 alone, the economy earned £16.48bn from spending by inbound visitors. With a rich and interesting history and landscape, millions of visitors from all over the world - and locally - come to explore the UK each year.
With a career in tourism, you can help people to make the most of their time in the UK and see all that it has to offer, creating memories that they will take away forever – and perhaps bring back in the future!
There is a wealth of options available - you could work for a national or regional tourist organisation, planning how to best to market and promote the attractions and visitor experience in your area; as a tour guide, bringing historical stories to life as you show them round local landmarks and sites of interest; or in a tourist information centre, helping visitors to find local attractions and services, such as hotels and restaurants.
The three main areas that make up the tourism services industry are:
National and regional tourist organisations - The national tourist boards are VisitBritain, Visit Scotland, Visit Wales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Tourist boards are responsible for promoting, marketing and developing tourism in their region for the benefit of residents, domestic and overseas visitors. They may also offer opportunities to work abroad, as some tourist boards have staff in overseas offices to promote the UK to foreign markets.
Tourist Information Centres (TICs) - these may be publicly owned by Local Authorities or privately owned.
Tour guiding - this includes guides working in visitor attractions, on coach tours and those who operate independent tours.
Career Opportunities and Skills Needed
There is a wide variety of jobs in the tourism services industry, ranging from tour guides to supervisory and managerial positions.
Many employers say that the willingness to work hard and having a good attitude are the most important things they look for.
For public facing roles, such as tour guides, these good people skills and an appreciation of the importance of customer service are an advantage. Progression in the industry is most likely for committed workers who are willing to take on new responsibilities.
Click here to download a industry profile factsheet.