Tourism and Recreation

Have you ever considered a job in tourism and recreation? If the following statements apply to you, you might be headed for a tourism related job.

  • I think it’s important to share what I know about nature and my culture. I like to help others learn how to respect and care for the environment.
  • I like being outdoors and on the land or water. Showing others the best things about my Nation’s territory appeals to me.
  • I enjoy working with people, and I have an interest in my local area.
Tourism and recreation workers may work as guides, travel counselors, sales and service workers, front desk agents, boat operators, or conference and event planners. Some guides lead visitors to popular sites and remote areas, sharing their knowledge about nature and culture. This growing segment of the tourism industry is called ecotourism. Others organize trips for tourists and resort guests, and may also plan and book transportation, prepare food, tell stories, and teach lessons. In fact, the tourism industry is so big, that the list of jobs is nearly endless. But one thing is certain: work in the tourism industry is never dull.

Many tourism workers work for tour operators, resorts, attractions, and other businesses, where the environment is always changing. Others are self-employed, and have a variety of skills to help them be successful. One portion of the tourism industry that is getting bigger is Aboriginal tourism. For more information on this exciting area, see the resources section.

Deck hands working in tourism may require Marine Emergency Duties (MED) training, Serving It Right, and First Aid certification.

Skippers require master’s marine training appropriate for the size of the boat they operate (usually a minimum of 60 tonnes).

Zodiac drivers require Marine Emergency Duties (MED) training, first aid certification, and a radio operator’s licence. Some employers will provide on-the-job training for zodiac drivers if they are already working as deck hands.

Front desk agents usually have a high school diploma and experience working with people.

Most guides have a high school diploma and/or local knowledge plus experience leading tours, navigating boats, and/or speaking to groups. Some jobs require a diploma or bachelor’s degree in an area such as tourism or hospitality management, environmental tourism, leisure studies, or recreation. Other jobs require guides to earn certificates through organizations like the Sea Kayak Guides Association of B.C. and International Wilderness First Aid.

Sports fishing guides have a high school diploma plus experience navigating boats and interpreting the laws governing sport fishing.

Heritage communicators/Interpreters usually have a minimum of two years post secondary training in the natural or social sciences. They have a good knowledge of the natural or human history of Canada and the ability to communicate this information. Most work within Parks Canada National Parks, Marine Conservation Parks, and National Historical Sites.

Deck hands working in tourism may earn between $3,000 and $22,000 per year. Most work seasonally.

Skippers and zodiac drivers may earn between $12,000 and $24,900 per year. Most work seasonally.

Front desk agents may earn between $8,000 and $25,900. Many work seasonally.

Ecotourism and other guides may earn between $4,000 and $38,200 per year depending on the level of education, local knowledge, guiding skills, and experience and/or the number of months worked.

Lifeboat station crew earn between $ 44,000 and $53,000 per year.

Heritage communicators/interpreters earn between $44,000 and $52,150 per year.

Sample Employers

  • Whale watching companies
  • Sports fishing companies
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Parks Canada
  • Quu-as West Coast Trail Society

Sample Jobs

  • Deck Hands
  • Skippers
  • Zodiac Drivers
  • Front Desk Agents
  • Eco-tourism Guide
  • Sports Fishing Guides
  • Cultural Educators
  • Surf Instructors
  • Canoe, Kayak, and other Outdoor Guides
  • Heritage Communicators/Interpreters

Did You Know

People working as guides may use a ?’apac (cha-pats), or canoe, to show tourists the sights.