Tour managers manage the travel arrangements of holidaymakers and business clients.

What does a tour manager do?

Tour managers, or tour directors, are responsible for making sure that travel arrangements for groups of holidaymakers run as smoothly and enjoyably as possible. Tour managers accompany passengers throughout a tour, keeping them informed about details such as arrival and departure times and places of interest.

The role would usually involve working on coach tours that could last from two or three days to over a month. It might also involve working on tours by rail or cruise ship.

This job would involve:

  • welcoming the tour group at the start of their trip and informing them of travel arrangements and stopover points
  • making sure all travel arrangements run according to plan, and that the accommodation, meals and service are satisfactory
  • helping with passport and immigration issues
  • giving spoken commentaries about places en route (local guides may also be used)
  • promoting and selling excursions to tour members
  • advising on sights, local restaurants and shops at each destination
  • recording issues that may require follow-up after the tour

Tour managers would need to be available at almost any time to give advice, solve problems and deal with emergencies, such as loss of passports or money, illness or difficulties with accommodation.

They might also specialise in the business-travel sector. This would involve managing the travel arrangements for people on business, which could include dealing with insurance, visas, vehicle hire and responding to itinerary changes.

What do I need to do to become a tour manager?

You do not usually need any particular qualifications to become a tour manager, but you would need a good standard of general education.

You would also need:

  • experience of working with people
  • a friendly and approachable manner
  • a keen interest in the culture, geography and history of the locations covered by the tour
  • a good working knowledge of foreign languages if touring overseas
  • experience of working overseas if the job you are applying for is based abroad

You could move into this job after gaining experience in a related role, such as a travel agent, tour guide or tour rep.

Qualifications related to leisure, travel 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.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Time management

Related subjects

  • Foreign languages

Desirable qualifications

  • Qualifications related to leisure, travel, and tourism

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could be employed by any of the operators that organise group package tours  – ranging from large, international companies to small, specialist firms. You could also find work with business-travel management companies.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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