What are transferable skills and why do you need them? What does it mean to be employable today and in the future?...
- Provide information and advice to tourists about local attractions, accommodation and transport
- You'll need to build up a good knowledge of the local area and have excellent communications skills
- Additional language skills are helpful but not essential
Tourist information centre assistants provide information and advice to tourists about travel, accommodation and things to see and do in the local area.
- Answering customer queries in person, by phone, and email
- Finding information using computer systems, leaflets, timetables, guidebooks and national tourist information centre (TIC) reference kits
- Making bookings for coach travel, theatre performances and accommodation
- Setting up displays within the centre and re-stocking literature
- Keeping up to date with local accommodation, places to visit, activities and events
You might also be responsible for selling items like guidebooks, postcards and stamps, local craft items, gifts and souvenirs. You may also need to visit local attractions as part of your role, so you can recommend them to customers.
Your hours will vary depending on your location, but you may need to work weekends and bank holidays. Many jobs are part-time, and some Tourist Information Centres (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.
There are no set entry requirements but it may help if you have GCSEs including English and maths, a good general knowledge of the local area and its attractions and facilities, a travel and tourism qualification, experience of customer service and cash handling, and the ability to speak one or more foreign languages.
You'll also need customer service skills, listening skills and a desire to help, networking skills to build relationships with people like hotel and guesthouse owners, the ability to work calmly and efficiently under pressure, and IT skills.
To get started you could take a college course such as a Level 2 Award in the Principles of Customer Service in Leisure, Travel and Tourism, Level 2 Diploma in Travel and Tourism, or Level 3 Applied Certificate in Tourism.
With experience, you could become a TIC supervisor or manager. Alternatively, you could move into local authority tourism departments, regional or area tourist board jobs, or to other areas of the travel and tourism industry.