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Tourist information centre assistant

  • Hours

    Variable

  • Starting salary

    £16,000 + per year

Tourist information centre (TIC) assistants provide information to help people make the most of their visit to the local area. Information can be given in person, in writing or on the telephone. If you've got good customer service skills and you want to work in tourism, this could be the job for you.

In this job you would need to have a pleasant and friendly manner with people. You would also need good general knowledge of the local area.

You don't need any specific qualifications to get into this job. However, many employers may expect you to have a good standard of general education, such as some GCSEs (A-C).



 

The work

As a TIC assistant, your work would include:

  • answering enquiries using computer systems, leaflets, timetables, guidebooks and national TIC reference kits
  • making bookings, for example coach travel, theatre performances and accommodation
  • setting up displays within the centre
  • keeping up to date with local accommodation, places to visit, activities and events
  • re-stocking free literature and goods for sale.

You would also make sure that the centre is kept tidy and sell goods like guidebooks, postcards and stamps, local craft items, gifts and souvenirs.


Hours

Your working hours would vary according to the location. Many centres open daily in peak periods, so you may work weekends and bank holidays. A lot of jobs are part-time, and some TICs only open for the summer season.

You could work in a separate TIC building or in places like local authority offices, libraries, museums, ports and airports.


Income

Tourist information centre assistants can earn from £16,000 to around £20,000 a year (for full-time hours).

Figures are intended as a guideline only.


Entry requirements

You do not need any set qualifications to work as a TIC assistant, and employers will often consider the right personal qualities for the job to be as important as, or more important than, qualifications. However, you will be expected to have a good general education, and some employers may prefer you to have GCSEs (A-C) or similar qualifications.

Experience of customer service and cash handling will be useful, and you may also have an advantage if you have:

  • the ability to speak one or more foreign languages (this may be essential for work in an airport, port or major tourism destination)
  • knowledge of sign language
  • Level 2 Diploma in the Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel & Tourism
  • Level 2 Diploma in Travel and Tourism.

The Hospitality Guild unites training providers, businesses and individuals, and offers information and advice about careers in hospitality and tourism. Their website also has interactive tools that can help you to plan and develop your career.


Training and development

As a new TIC assistant, you would receive most of your training on the job, but may attend Tourist Board induction courses. You may also attend other specialist TIC skills courses, covering areas such as:

  • specific TIC services
  • national reference material
  • product knowledge
  • selling and promotional skills
  • Welcome Host customer service training
  • other training relevant to TIC systems and services.

You may also be able to work towards:

  • Level 2 Award in the Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Tourism Services.

Skills, interests and qualities

To be a tourist information centre assistant you should have:

  • a pleasant, friendly manner
  • customer service skills
  • good listening and questioning skills, both face to face and on the telephone
  • the ability to work calmly and efficiently under pressure
  • a good general knowledge of the local area and its attractions and facilities
  • a smart appearance
  • enthusiasm for constantly updating your knowledge and skills
  • IT skills.

More information

Hospitality Guild (Opens new window)
www.hospitalityguild.co.uk

Institute of Travel and Tourism (Opens new window)
PO Box 217
Ware
Hertfordshire
SG12 8WY
Tel: 0844 4995 653
www.itt.co.uk

Britain Express (Opens new window)
www.britainexpress.com


 

Opportunities

Visit the Britain Express website for a list of TICs – most are run by local authorities or regional tourist boards.

Vacancies may be advertised in local newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus offices and on LGjobs, the recruitment website for local government.

With experience you could be promoted to a supervisory or management position.

You could also have the opportunity to move into local authority tourism departments, regional or area tourist board jobs, or to other areas of the travel and tourism industry.


 

Related industry information

Industry summary

The travel and tourist services industry is represented by People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism. The hospitality, travel and tourism sector incorporates the following industries: contract food service providers, events, gambling, holiday parks, hospitality services, hostels, hotels, membership clubs, pubs, bars and nightclubs, restaurants, self-catering accommodation, tourist services, and visitor attractions. The sector accounts for a workforce of 2.1 million, most of which are based within the restaurants, hospitality services, and pubs, bars and nightclubs industries. The roles within the sector are extremely diverse and include managers, technical staff, front-of-house staff, back-of-house staff, and non-core staff.

The travel services and tourist services industry can be divided into:

  • Travel services – these support the wider travel and tourism sector and include, for example, Thomas Cook, TUI, Co‐operative Travel Group, and STA Travel
  • Tourist services – these support inbound and domestic tourism and comprise:
    • National and regional tourist boards e.g. Visit Scotland, London Tourist Board
    • Tourist Information Centres
    • Inbound and domestic tour operators

The industry is also responsible for a large number of tourist guides that can be found at visitor attractions and on coach and independent tours.

Key facts:

  • There are 119,800 people working in the travel and tourist services industry.
  • The majority of the workforce has a NVQ Level 4 qualification (35%).
  • 4% of the workforce has no qualifications.
  • The majority of the workforce is female.
  • The majority of the workforce is employed full‐time.

[N.B. Data derived from Labour Force Survey, 2009.]

Jobs in the industry range from: travel agent, tour guide, blue badge tour guide (level 4), business travel agency manager, home‐working travel consultant, tour operator, resort manager, tourism officer, and tourist board manager.


National and regional data

East Midlands – There are approximately 6,300 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 84% work full‐time
  • 53% of the workforce is female
  • 81% of the workforce is white
  • 22% of the workforce is 25‐29 years
  • 32% of the workforce has an NVQ level 2 qualification

As the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as a whole, there are an estimated: 500 travel agency managers; 1,500 travel agents; and 400 travel and tour guides.

East of England – There are approximately 8,200 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 52% work full‐time
  • 64% of the workforce is female
  • 97% of the workforce is white
  • 20% of the workforce is 25‐29 years
  • 33% of the workforce has an NVQ level 2 qualification

As the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as a whole, there are an estimated: 4,900 travel agents; and 1,000 travel and tour guides.

London – There are approximately 16,000 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 85% work full‐time
  • 52% of the workforce is female
  • 84% of the workforce is white
  • 24% of the workforce is 30‐34 years
  • 55% of the workforce has an NVQ level 4 and above qualification

Taking the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as a whole, there are an estimated: 2,900 travel agency managers; 6,700 travel agents; and 1,400 travel and tour guides.

North East – There are approximately 5,700 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 52% work full‐time
  • The majority of the workforce is female
  • 23% of the workforce is 30‐34 years
  • 52% of the workforce has an NVQ level 3 qualification

North West – There are approximately 12,000 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 84% work full‐time
  • 65% of the workforce is female
  • 96% of the workforce is white
  • Equal proportions of the workforce are aged 20‐24 years (18%) and 30‐34 years (18%)
  • 31% of the workforce has an NVQ level 4 or above qualification

As the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as a whole, there are an estimated: 5,700 travel agents; and 1,500 travel and tour guides.

South East – There are approximately 19,200 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 77% work full‐time
  • 68% of the workforce is female
  • 91% of the workforce is white
  • 32% of the workforce is 30‐34 years
  • 36% of the workforce has an NVQ level 4 or above qualification

As the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as a whole, there are an estimated: 2,300 travel agency managers; 7,600 travel agents; and 3,700 travel and tour guides.

South West – There are approximately 5,100 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 75% work full‐time
  • 82% of the workforce is female
  • 18% of the workforce is 55‐59 years
  • 43% of the workforce has an NVQ level 4 or above qualification

As the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as a whole, there are an estimated: 2,700 travel agents; and 1,700 travel and tour guides.

West Midlands – There are approximately 6,800 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 60% work full‐time
  • 74% of the workforce is female
  • 91% of the workforce is white
  • 24% of the workforce is 20‐24 years
  • 32% of the workforce has an NVQ level 3 qualification

Yorkshire and the Humber – There are approximately 7,200 people working in the travel and tourist services industry in this region, of which:

  • 56% work full‐time
  • 60% of the workforce is female
  • 23% of the workforce is 25‐29 years
  • 33% of the workforce has an NVQ level 3 qualification

Northern Ireland – There are approximately 43,900 people working in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as whole in Northern Ireland, of which 1,418 work in the travel and tourist services industry in 100 establishments. Details as follows:

  • The majority of the workforce is female and full‐time
  • 50% of the workforce is aged 20‐24 years
  • 63% of the workforce has an NVQ level 4 qualification

Scotland – There are approximately 183,500 people working in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as whole in Scotland, of which 6,847 work in the travel and tourist services industry in 900 establishments. Details as follows:

  • The majority of the workforce is female and full‐time
  • 28% of the workforce is aged 25‐29 years
  • 34% of the workforce has an NVQ level 4 qualification

Wales – There are approximately 86,100 people working in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector as whole in Wales, of which 5,569 work in travel and tourist services industry in 500 establishments. Details as follows:

  • The majority of the workforce is female and full‐time
  • 32% of the workforce is aged 16‐24 years
  • 46% of the workforce has an NVQ level 2 qualification

Career paths


Further sources


View full job market information






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